DUI as a Minor

Like many states around the country, Maryland has extremely strict laws for minor DUI.  Under state law, a minor is defined as anyone under the legal drinking age of 21.  Despite legally being adults the law does not differentiate between minors over 18 or under 18.  The drinking age has its flaws, and many argue that it is extremely hypocritical to allow and 18 to fight for his or her country in a war, and not allow them to buy a beer, but the legal age is not going to change anytime soon.  We have experience defending teenagers under and adults that are not legally allowed to drink  There are basically two ways that a minor can be arrested for DUI, and defending these cases presents unique challenges.   

Under Maryland law, a minor has per se committed the offense of DUI if he or she is driving with a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher.  This means that even if a minor driver is not exhibiting noticeable signs of intoxication or drunk driving, the minor can be arrested.  The .02 threshold is basically a zero tolerance policy that the Maryland legislature has enacted.  In order to be charged with per se DUI, a minor would have to submit to a breath alcohol test.  Although a breath alcohol level of .02 is tantamount to a trace amount of alcohol, a police officer cannot simply say that he or she smelled alcohol on a minor's breath to prove a crime.  It is never advisable to submit to a breath alcohol test if you have had any alcohol to drink, but this is especially true in the case of DUI by a minor.

A police officer may also arrest a minor if he or she believes that the minor is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.  The police officer may use his or her training and experience to evaluate whether the minor is under the influence of alcohol.  This includes observing the minor's driving pattern, motor skills, speech, and ability to listen and follow instructions.  Typically the police will arrest the minor if there is any trace of alcohol on the minor's breath.  This is just the reality of this charge, but an experienced DUI lawyer in Maryland will not let this type of case stand up in court.  The Maryland criminal lawyers at The Herbst Firm understand that an arrest showing up on a minor's criminal record can negatively can affect that minor's future, and we will aggressively fight to have your minor's DUI charges reduced or dismissed.

Minor DUI laws are strict for a variety of reason.  Teens and even 20 year old minors are statistically at a much higher risk for being involved in a car accident than adults, and the legislature does not want drunk driving to further contribute to this disparity.  The Maryland legislature also looks at the zero tolerance laws as an added enforcement for the legal drinking age of 21.  Regardless of the reasons for its existence the laws are not going away, and if your minor is facing a DUI charge contact the experienced Maryland criminal lawyers today for a free consultation.  
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