Few things can compare to facing criminal charges as a juvenile. Being charged with DUI and a subsequent conviction can lead to severe criminal and civil consequences. For this reason, it is essential to have a competent, reliable criminal defense lawyer at your side at all times.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Baltimore underage DUI defense lawyers, we can guide you throughout the complex criminal process and help you understand your rights as a defendant. Thanks to our many years of experience with criminal law, we can provide you with quality legal representation at all stages of your case. Don’t’ wait another minute and retain our services today. For a free, confidential consultation on your situation, call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.
Baltimore Underage DUI Laws
Drinking and driving have been responsible for thousands of accidents, injuries, and deaths in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018, drunk-driving was responsible for 10,511 deaths in the United States. During the same year, the NHTSA reported 231 underage deaths in alcohol-related crashes in the nation. The dangers of drinking and driving pose to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians have forced every state to enact laws to address this particular situation. Baltimore has stringent DUI (driving under the influence) laws.
For instance, there is a strict limit to the amount of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) a person can have while operating their vehicle. If a police officer pulls you over and has probable cause to believe you consumed alcohol, he may ask you to perform a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer is a machine used to detect the amount of alcohol in your system. If your BAC is above 0.08% (Maryland’s BAC limit), you may face severe consequences.
Maryland has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving. This policy also includes minors. The BAC levels for underage drivers is even more restricting than the BAC limits allowed for adults. Law enforcement officials can arrest young drivers with a BAC of over 0.02%. If found guilty, a minor can face criminal consequences, which include fines, jail time, alcohol treatment programs, and other consequences.
Criminal Penalties for Underage DUIs in Baltimore
The criminal consequences for underage DUIs in Baltimore can change depending on the person’s age. Juveniles with at least 18 years of age, they can be charged and tried as adults. Generally, minors under the age of 18, are not tried in traditional courtrooms. In these cases, minors are tried in juvenile courts. It is good to remember age is not the only element to consider in underage DUI cases. Cases involving severe accidents, injuries, property damage, or deaths can lead a minor to be tried as an adult.
Underage DUI offenders can expect entirely different criminal consequences than adults. Typically, a first DUI conviction for an adult carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. A second DUI conviction can carry even harsher consequences. Second, DUI offenders can face up to two years in jail and up to $2,000 in criminal fines. If you are charged and convicted for a third DUI in Baltimore, you may face up to three years in prison, up to $3,000 in fines, and a 12 points deduction in your driver’s license and potential revocation.
In contrast, minors can face lighter penalties, but these can have lasting consequences. For instance, a minor found guilty of a first DUI offense can face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Being convicted of a DUI as a minor can also affect your driver’s license. The court may order a six months suspension on your license. Additionally, you may need to install an interlocking ignition system in your car. If you were charged with a DUI as a minor in Baltimore, you need to call an underage DUI lawyer immediately.
Defense Strategies in Underage DUI Cases in Baltimore, MD
Being charged with underage DUI in Baltimore doesn’t mean you cannot fight and defend yourself. You are innocent until proven guilty, and you have the right to fight off your charges. For instance, you can challenge the circumstances surrounding your arrest. In order to arrest you, a police officer needs to have probable cause to believe you were under the effects of alcohol. A preliminary observation of how you looked the moment he or she pulled you over can’t be enough to constitute probable cause for your arrest.
Another way you can defend yourself against your DUI charges is by challenging the results provided by the breathalyzer test. All breathalyzers need to be calibrated and fine-tuned to make sure they yield reliable results. There are times where police officers use uncalibrated equipment that may blow the results out of proportion. Your criminal defense lawyer can challenge the results of your breathalyzer test and make sure that evidence cannot be used against you.
Additionally, police officers must follow proper procedures when pulling you over, performing any sobriety tests, placing you under arrest, among other procedures. If they fail to follow legal procedures protecting you, they may not be convicted of DUI.
Baltimore Underage DUI Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was arrested and charged with a DUI in Baltimore, we can help. A DUI conviction in Baltimore can lead to severe consequences. Facing these charges can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially for first-time offenders. Our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice understand how difficult this moment can be for you and your family. We also know the consequences you can potentially face if found guilty. That is why we dedicate our efforts to protecting and upholding your rights at all times during your case. Don’t waste another minute if you are facing DUI charges as a minor in Baltimore, MD. To learn more about how we can help you in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.