No matter how you look at it, statistics regarding underage drinking and driving are staggering. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers under the age of 21 are responsible for 17% of fatal alcohol-related accidents, but only make up approximately 10% of licensed drivers.
Considering the fact that they cannot even legally consume alcohol in the first place, underage drinking and driving is a serious problem. If you’ve been charged with underage DWI in Columbia, it is essential to understand the legal repercussions and how a skilled DWI defense attorney can help. Call a Columbia underage DWI lawyer today for assistance.
In the state of Missouri, underage DWI laws are some of the most serious underage drinking offenses. A driver under 21 is driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.02 percent or higher. This means that even a small amount of alcohol can lead to an underage DWI charge.
In addition to underage DWI laws, drivers under the age of 21 may also be charged with Minor in Possession (MIP). A MIP charge is usually a result of underage drinking and it’s important to understand that it does not actually require possession of alcohol. A MIP charge can be based on the individual’s BAC. This type of offense is a misdemeanor and can carry a sentence of up to a year in jail, $2,000 in fines, and a license suspension.
When a law enforcement officer suspects underage drinking and driving, they will likely request the individual to submit to a breathalyzer test. If the results of this test are between 0.02% to .08%, the driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days. There will also be a 60-day period following the suspension with an ignition interlock device (IID). If there’s a second offense, the license will be revoked for one year, followed by a 6-month period with an IID.
Another way underage drinking and driving can result in the suspension of a driver’s license is by refusing to take a breathalyzer test. In Missouri, this means that an underage individual who refuses to take the breathalyzer or blood test will face more severe penalties, including having their license suspended for one year. If an individual refuses to test, there is no option for restricted licenses either. A hardworking attorney in Columbia can prepare a viable defense for motorists charged with underage drinking and driving.
If a person in Missouri is charged with underage drinking and driving, they have the right to legal representation. Having a legal representative on your side can make all the difference in navigating the legal system and defending against underage DWI charges. Legal counsel can help to mitigate or reduce potential penalties and consequences associated with underage DWI charges.
Being charged with driving intoxicated while underage can have serious consequences long into the future. If you’ve been charged with underage DWI, it is essential to speak with a defense lawyer in Columbia who specializes in these cases. A criminal defense lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive a fair trial. A skilled criminal defense attorney will utilize every avenue to have underage DWI charges reduced or even dismissed. This can include filing motions to suppress evidence or negotiating plea deals to reduce the charges against you.
If you have been charged with underage drinking and driving, you need the legal expertise of a criminal defense lawyer. Underage DWI is a serious offense and can result in jail time and other harsh penalties. The Law Offices of Chris Miller provides experienced representation for underage DWI cases. Contact us today to learn more about how a Columbia underage DWI lawyer can help you.