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Underage DUI Charges in Darien

An underage DUI, DWI, or OUI can result in a permanent criminal record. Underage DUI charges in Darien can follow you or your child, coming up on every background check, and ruining potential job prospects. Do not let a careless mistake ruin you, or your child’s life. Contact a qualified DUI lawyer that can fight for you.

BAC Limit for Minors

The BAC limit for minors under 18 is 0.02. The BAC for underage drinkers is very low compared to 0.08 for adults. There is a zero tolerance DWI law in Darien that says if a person under 21 is found to be driving under the influence, and has a BAC of 0.02 or higher, then that person can be arrested on underage DUI charges in Darien.  

There are also factors used to determine impairment in underage drivers known as the standard field sobriety tests or SFSTs and those include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test and the one-legged stand test.  They are administered to anyone between the ages of 16 and 21 and if a person fails those tests, that person can be arrested for an under 21 DUI.

Expectations of an Underage DUI Trial Process

The Stamford prosecutors and courts who handle Darien Under 21 DUI / DWI arrests will want to examine whether the person under the age of 21 has a potential alcohol or substance abuse problem. The accused and their criminal lawyer need to be aggressive about pushing back against the court, for unnecessary conditions of the court case such as urine testing, random alcohol testing, breath testing, and onerous drug and alcohol counseling.

When  Would a Minor Be Charged As an Adult?

When it comes to underage DUI charges in Darien, teenagers are charged as adults even if they are 16 or 17. All DUI charges report to Superior Court and adult court. However, the courtroom is sealed and a person's record is sealed so it will not be made available to the public or to the newspapers and it will not be made public in the clerk's office. It is a sealed file so thankfully, even though a person is underage, they will be protected from negative publicity.

Alternatives to Jail for an Underage DUI Offense

In certain circumstances, an underage driver or someone arrested for an under 21, DUI or  DWI  may be able to participate in an alcohol education program to suspend the prosecution of their case.  The alcohol education program consists of 10 or 15 DWI classes that if completed successfully may result in the dismissal of a person's case. This program is a privilege, not an entitlement, and it is generally available only for adult drivers 21 and over.

It can be challenging to get the alcohol education program for a person under 21 because not only is the underage person being accused of drunk driving, they are also being accused of underage drinking. If a person already has two strikes against them when applying to this program, it makes the granting of the application all the more difficult, but certainly possible, if that person is assisted by a competent Connecticut criminal lawyer.

Impact of an Underage DUI on a Person’s Future

Pleading guilty to underage DUI charges in Darien, or even the arrest itself, can stay on you, or your child’s record for years, if not forever.  These charges will come up on every background check and can result in things like an increase in auto insurance rates, one-year suspension of their driver's license as well as probation, and restricting the person from traveling out of state in Connecticut.

One way to combat this is by hiring a skilled underage DUI attorney. You should not plead guilty to an underage DUI. Instead, you should exhaust all of your defenses and mitigation arguments with the assistance of a Darien DUI lawyer.