Michigan criminal defense attorney

Teen DUI and OWI Arrests: Prevention and Defense

Gavel and car keys depicting teen DUI defense

One of the most prominent types of arrests made during the holiday season is for drunk driving – or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There may be a combination of factors at play:

  • Holiday parties
  • School break
  • The availability of alcohol for underage drinkers
  • Higher police vigilance
  • And the potential for dangerous driving conditions

Did you know that your teenage driver will be treated as an adult if he or she is arrested for drunk driving?

There is no separate code for underage drunk driving. Your teen’s age may affect how they are treated in court after an arrest.

However, it won’t prevent the ramifications of drunk driving. In fact, there is no legal BAC limit for underage drinkers. Moreover, any level of alcohol found in your teen’s blood is illegal.

Teen Drinking and Drug Use Statistics

Here are some statistics about teenage drinking and drug use from the well-known prevention organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD):

  • Over 40% of all 10th graders drink alcohol.
  • Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years.
  • About one in seven teens binge drinks, yet only 1 in 100 parents believe his or her teen binge drinks.
  • More than a third of teens mistakenly believe they drive better under the influence of marijuana.
  • Teen alcohol use kills 4,300 people each year – that’s more than all illegal drugs combined.
  • About a quarter of car crashes with teens involve an underage drinking driver. Ninety-five percent of the 14 million people who are alcohol dependent began drinking before the legal age of 21.

Minor DUI Charges in Michigan

Any minor charged with a DUI will be treated the same as an adult in the same circumstances.

However, because they are a minor, they will have to have a parent or legal guardian present who is well-informed about the situation. If you are a teen charged with a DUI, there’s no such thing as keeping it a secret from your parents.

Another potential problem with an underage DUI charge is that prosecutors and judges tend to be harsh with juvenile offenders. The idea behind this is if they can prevent a teen from driving under the influence again, they will have done their job.

On the one hand, prosecutors and judges are acting in what they believe to be a minor’s best interest. Once on the wrong side of the law, it can be hard to right your course.

On the other hand, a good defense attorney will highlight to the judge that these charges themselves could have potentially catastrophic consequences for the teen involved.

Experienced Defense for Teen DUI and OWI Arrests

It is critical to hire an experienced defense attorney if your teenage son or daughter is charged with a DUI. Although your teen cannot be given jail time, this doesn’t prevent the judge from sentencing your teen to a very rigorous set of conditions.

There is also the reality that a minor’s record needs to be protected as rigorously as possible. Hiring a defense attorney for your teen is the surest way to do this.

Call my office today for a free consultation for teen DUI and OWI arrests.

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This article was published on: December 29, 2018 and was last modified December 29, 2018