Washington State enforces tough DUI laws, but that is not the case with underage drunk driving. The Minor DUI crime is only a misdemeanor. That means the maximum penalty a court can imposed for a Minor DUI conviction is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. That is a stark contrast to DUI which is a gross misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. However, a conviction will remain on your criminal history potentially ruining future career paths. An experienced Minor DUI defense attorney can protect your best interests.
Fortunately, there are no mandatory penalties for a Minor DUI conviction unlike a DUI conviction. This does not mean a minor arrested will escape a driver’s license suspension. If the minor provides a breath or blood test of 0.02 or higher they will be subjected to a civil administrative hearing. The penalty for losing that hearing will result in a license suspension.
Typically, a minor will be charged with Minor DUI by the prosecuting authority if the breath test results are between 0.02 and 0.07. The prosecutor can technically charge under the regular DUI crime if there is enough evidence to do so.
Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol
Oddly, it is worse to be charged with the underage drinking crimes of MIP or MIC. These crimes are both gross misdemeanors carrying the 365 days in jail and $5,000 fine maximum penalty. This is where the Washington State Legislature needs to revisit the Minor DUI statute. An underage drinker can be punished more severely for drinking in their dorm room than they would if they were driving under the influence with a BAC level of 0.02 to 0.07.
Seattle Minor DUI Attorney
Minors arrested for DUI require an experienced Seattle DUI attorney. A majority have not determined their long term career goals. Do not let this crime be an obstacle in their future. Contact us immediately for a free initial consultation.