The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old or older. Additionally, each state has underage DUI laws that address underage drinking and driving. 

If you or your child are facing underage DUI charges, you need to understand your legal rights and what you are facing. Therefore, your first step is to contact an experienced Dayton underage DUI lawyer. 

Contact an Experienced Dayton DUI Defense Lawyer 

Underage DUI can result in severe penalties. Facing the charges alone could result in losing your driving privileges and other penalties. However, having sound legal advice and an experienced attorney to represent you in court gives you the best chance of avoiding an underage DUI conviction. 

A DUI defense attorney helps you with underage drunk driving charges by:

  • Explaining your legal rights
  • Answering your questions about underage DUI charges
  • Conduct an independent investigation of your DUI arrest 
  • Developing an effective defense strategy against the underage DUI charges
  • Protect your legal rights 
  • Explore charge reduction and decrease sentences as part of a DUI plea bargain
  • Discuss alternative sentencing options for underage DUI defendants 
  • Represent you at all court hearings and during plea negotiations 

An underage DUI conviction can have serious consequences for a young adult. In addition to jail time and fines, a conviction of drunk driving could limit your career options. You might not be able to get into the college you desire or obtain scholarships and financial aid.

Do Not Talk to the Police or Prosecutor Without a Dayton DUI Lawyer

You might believe you can work out an underage DUI charge without hiring a lawyer. That is what the prosecutor wants you to believe. However, everything you say to the police and the prosecutor can be used against you. 

You should be polite and respectful when dealing with the police. The officers are doing their job to protect the public. But that does not mean you have to answer their questions.

You have the right to remain silent. It is best to exercise this right until you can discuss the criminal charges with a criminal defense lawyer. Therefore, respectfully tell the police officers you choose to remain silent and then stop talking. 

Understand the DUI Charges You Face 

Ohio Revised Code §4511.19 makes it illegal for anyone to drive a motor vehicle while:

  • Their breath alcohol content is .08% or higher;
  • Their blood alcohol content is .08% or higher; OR,
  • Their urine alcohol concentration is .11 percent or higher.

All drivers who violate the law can be charged with driving under the influence. The charge is referred to as operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OVI). 

The code section also makes it illegal for someone to operate a vehicle “under the influence” of alcohol or drugs. That means you could be arrested for DUI even though your BAC (blood alcohol content) or urine concentration is under the legal limit. 

However, underage drivers do not need a BAC above the legal limit to be arrested for DUI. Drivers under 21 years old can be arrested for operating a vehicle after underage consumption if their:

  • Blood alcohol content is .02% or higher
  • Breath alcohol content is .02% or higher
  • Urine alcohol concentration is .028% or higher

As with adult drivers, underage drivers could also be arrested if any amount of alcohol in their system impairs their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

Ohio has implied consent laws that require drivers to submit to chemical testing. If they refuse a breath test, urine test, or blood test, an underage driver can lose their driving privileges. Their driver’s license can be administratively suspended.

What Are the Penalties for Underage DUI in Dayton, OH?

The sentence for underage drinking and driving depends on several factors. The person’s past DUI convictions and aggravating factors can increase the severity of the DUI penalties.

Without aggravating factors, a first-time offense for underage DUI is typically a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge. A conviction would typically result in the following:

  • Driver’s license suspension for 90 days to two years
  • A maximum fine of $250
  • Up to 30 days in county jail
  • Attending a court-order remedial driving course
  • Required SR-22 insurance bond when allowed to resume driving
  • Enrollment in an alcohol addiction course

Repeat underage offenders face longer jail sentences, higher fines, and a longer duration of driver’s license suspension. They could lose their driving privileges for up to five years and spend as long as 60 days in jail.

Get Help With an Underage DUI Charge in Dayton 

There are several defenses an attorney might argue in defense of an underage DUI charge. Some defenses to underage DUI include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical conditions caused a falsely high BAC level or mimicked signs of intoxication
  • Environmental factors interfered with field sobriety tests
  • The police officers lacked reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop
  • The arresting officer did not have probable cause for a DUI arrest
  • Challenges to the collection, testing, and storage of samples for chemical tests

The defense strategy depends on the facts of the case. Before pleading guilty to underage DUI in Dayton, talk with a DUI defense attorney to find out if there are defenses that could result in a dismissal or acquittal of the charges. 

Contact the Dayton DUI Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today

For more information, contact the DUI attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC give us a call today at (937) 531-0435 or visit us at our Dayton law office.

Suhre & Associates, LLC – Dayton
130 West Second Street #17-129
Dayton, OH 45402
United States