The state of Maryland holds very strict laws regarding drinking and driving. Any driver who is found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a vehicle can be charged with a DUI, thus facing serious consequences as a result of their actions. However, it is important to know that a driver who is under the age of 21 may face different consequences. In these situations, underage drivers who are under the influence can face their own set of penalties for breaking the law. If you are charged with a DUI and are under 21 years of age, contact an experienced Maryland traffic defense attorney for assistance with your case.
Maryland Underage DUI Law
There is a zero-tolerance law in Maryland when dealing with underage drinking and driving. Under Maryland Code 16-113, the state put an alcohol restriction on the licenses of all drivers who are not yet 21. This means that individuals who are not of the legal drinking age are unable to drink any amount of alcohol before operating a motor vehicle. It does not matter if they are not impaired, it is still illegal to drive. A person under the age of 21 years old can lose their driving privilege if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of just 0.02% while driving.
Penalties of an Underage DUI
When a driver under 21 is found to be under the influence behind the wheel of a vehicle, they can be charged with a DUI and face certain consequences as a result. If the driver is at least 18 years of age but younger than 21, their case will be handled in criminal court, like other DUI cases. If the driver is under the age of 18, their case will be handled in juvenile court.
The maximum penalties an underage driver may face in adult court are the same as a driver over 21. A maximum DUI penalty can include one year in jail, a $1000 fine, and 12 points on their license. The maximum penalty for a DWI is 60 days incarceration, a $500 fine, and eight points on their license. However, the sentences that are usually given are not the maximum. In most cases, first time offenders are not incarcerated, their fine can be under $500, and they do not receive points on their license. In addition to this, legislators have decided that a driver under 21 can have an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for six months.
There are additional consequences through the Maryland MVA for driver’s with a provisional license as well including suspension of the driving privilege.
Contact our Firm
The Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz has decades of experience representing clients in Howard County and Anne Arundel County, Maryland who have been charged with a crime or have been injured by the negligence of another party. Contact the Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz today to discuss your case.