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Underage DUI Charges in Utah

 Posted on April 25, 2024 in DUI

Salt Lake County, UT underage DUI defense lawyerBeing convicted of driving under the influence at any age is a serious offense, especially if you are underage. Utah, along with the rest of the United States, has a zero-tolerance law for drivers under the age of 21.

An underage DUI charge should not be taken lightly, and if found guilty, you will likely face criminal and administrative sanctions. Penalties may include license suspension, driving restrictions, incarceration, fines, and even having your vehicle seized.

A DUI charge can be overwhelming. Thankfully, our Salt Lake City DUI defense attorneys are ready to provide you with effective representation when you need it most.

Zero Tolerance Law

A driver younger than 21 is considered to be “alcohol restricted,” meaning that it is illegal for an underage motorist to drive after consuming a drop of alcohol. Utah and all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have a zero-tolerance policy regarding underage drinking. An underage driver who is found operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02% (the lowest detectable level) can be charged with a DUI.

License Suspension and Driving Restrictions

An adult motorist will face a four-month suspension period following a first DUI offense. Compared to an adult driver facing a first offense, an underage motorist 19 or 20 years of age will face a six-month suspension period. This takes effect 45 days after the arrest.

If the underage driver is 18 years old or younger, then the suspension period will be one year. If the underage driver has a BAC above the legal limit of 0.05%, then the suspension period will extend to two years.

License suspension is only the start. You may have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. Essentially, it is a breathalyzer that connects to the ignition system, and you will have to breathe into the device to start your vehicle’s engine. If the IID detects any trace of alcohol on your breath, your car will not start.

First-time underage offenders will have the IID requirement for three years. An underage driver who is IID restricted and attempts to drive without the device will face significant recourse if pulled over by a state trooper.

Incarceration and Fines

In fiscal year 2022, the Beehive State made 10,413 DUI arrests. Drunk driving remains a public safety issue, with 41% of offenders in the same year exceeding a BAC of 0.15% (three times the state’s legal limit), and the law enforcement system prosecutes DUI crimes aggressively.

An underage driver who is 19 or 20 years old could be sentenced to community services, fines, and even vehicle impoundment. If an individual has a BAC of 0.05% or higher, the driver could be incarcerated for 180 days and fined up to $1,000. This is in addition to the previously mentioned six-month license suspension.

Understandably, an underage driver should take all necessary steps to prevent a DUI conviction. To increase your chances of an acquittal, your first step should be to contact a Davis County DUI defense attorney.

A Salt Lake City, UT DUI Defense Attorney Who Has Your Back

An underage DUI charge comes with harsher punishments, putting your freedom on the line. If you have pending DUI charges, you need to speak with our Davis County, UT, DUI defense attorneys. To learn how we can help, contact the Collins Rupp, P.C. today. Call 385-777-2753 to schedule a no-cost consultation.

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