Under 21 DUI Maryland
In the United States, a person must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Due to this restriction, many states have passed additional legislation to prevent underage drinking and driving. Under such Zero Tolerance Laws, drivers under 21 must adhere to much harsher blood alcohol content (BAC) limitations than a person who has reached the legal drinking age. Like most states, Maryland law grants little leniency when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI)—particularly when a case involves underage drivers. Here’s what you should know about under 21 DUI in Maryland.
Although studies indicate that a person’s ability to drive becomes impaired when his or her blood-to-alcohol ratio—also known as BAC—reaches a percentage of 0.08 or more, underage drivers are expected to refrain from alcohol entirely. As a result, a person under 21 can be arrested for DUI if he or she is driving with even a small amount of alcohol in his or her system.
Under state law, underage drivers are considered legally impaired once their BAC reaches 0.02% or higher. Unfortunately, this means that mouthwash and similar products that contain alcohol can cause an underage driver’s BAC to reach the legal limit. Therefore, if you were charged with DUI after using these types of products, you may be able to challenge your arrest in court.
Remember, if you are convicted of under 21 DUI, you will face the same penalties as an adult. Under the state’s sentencing guidelines, a first-time offense carries up to $1,000 in fines, a 120-day license suspension, and a one-year jail sentence—and the penalties will only increase with each subsequent conviction.
A drunk driving conviction will also affect your personal life after you have completed your court-imposed sentence. From paying two to three times more for insurance to losing countless employment, housing, and educational opportunities, you can expect your DUI to cause difficulties in the future.
While most drivers must obtain legal representation in order to avoid a DUI conviction, the good news is that those who do hire an attorney typically achieve far better results than those who forego counsel. To speak with someone who can answer your questions about DUI law in Maryland, call Bruce Robinson at (443) 524-7395. For more information on drunk driving laws in Maryland, you can download a free digital copy of The Maryland DUI Fact Book.