Question: What are some potential consequences for an underage DUI charge in Maryland?
Answer: Well, there are studies that say that if somebody gets a DUI under the age of 21, the chances of them reoffending is very high. And we have seen that as being true. The person who gets a DUI at that age does have more chances of getting a DUI or is more likely to get another DUI. As far as the underage DUI, a lot of judges don’t like them very much, because the person’s not even supposed to be drinking in the first place. So not only have they broken one law, but they’ve broken two laws. And that’s where judges sometimes step in.
There’s a judge in Annapolis who always gives a weekend in jail, no matter the facts of the case at all if the person’s underage. There is also a ton of MVA consequences for somebody who’s underage, because you’re driving in violation of the license restriction. There’s also another charge that says, “driving with alcohol in the bloodstream,” which is also another charge that can cause you to lose your license. So, there’s a ton of MVA consequences.
A lot of judges, once somebody’s charged with underage drinking, will either mandatorily put the interlock in the car or take the person’s license. There are some ALJs who believe that if the underage person can’t abide by the law, that they’re not going to be giving them a license—that the license is a privilege, not a right. So, there are a ton of consequences as far as the MVA goes. Keeping a license. Sometimes these people who are underage getting DUIs are on some sort of a provisional. It would cause that whole period to start over again.
Sometimes the judge will make them keep the interlock in their car until they’re 21; I mean, there’s a lot of different punishments that they’ll do. Most judges we see in court will just lecture at somebody who’s under 21 and give them a ton of community service, or something like that. But, there are judges who punish harder for under 21 because, again, they’ve broken two laws and not just one. The issue with the underage DUI as well is that you can even win on the DUI charge, but if the breath test comes in or if the odor comes in or if there’s any admissions, then they can be found guilty of a jailable offense as far as driving in violation of a license restriction.
So, they’re a lot harder cases to try because you can even win on the alcohol offense and lose one of the other offenses. So, it does make it much harder to win; you’re pigeonholed, your back’s kind of up against the wall, and it’s certainly not a look that you want in front of a judge.