Underage DUI Cases
If you have been accused of underage DUI, also sometimes referred to as “kiddie DUI,” you have the right to fight the charges. An experienced attorney can help. At Pearson & Paris, P.C., we have more than 50 years of combined legal experience that we will use in your defense. Perhaps more importantly, our top criminal defense attorney is a former senior prosecutor who knows how district attorneys handle these cases. That knowledge allows us to create effective strategies ranging from negotiation to courtroom battles.
Whether in the Denver area or anywhere in Colorado, an underage DUI occurs when a person under the age of 21 drives a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of at least .02, but not more than .05 at the time of driving or within two hours after driving.
Possible Consequences Of Underage DUI
Underage DUI is a class A traffic infraction, making it a civil offense and not a criminal matter. The court could impose a fine of no more than $100, but may also order the person to complete 24 hours of useful public service and an alcohol evaluation and treatment program. As a further consequence of the civil nature of the charge, a person charged with this offense may be deprived of a jury trial right, unless the person is also charged with the misdemeanor of underage consumption/possession of ethyl alcohol.
A conviction for underage DUI also results in a revocation of driver’s license privileges.
Possible Defenses For Underage DUI
The available defenses for underage DUI are similar to those available to the charges of driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while ability impaired (DWAI). This means that every aspect of the police encounter must be analyzed and, where appropriate, challenged. This analysis starts with analyzing whether there was a legal “reasonable suspicion to justify the stop” to scrutinizing the driver’s performance of the field sobriety test. For example, poor performance during the roadside maneuvers may well be explained by medical issues, joint or muscle problems, uneven or rocky pavement, or myriad reasons for why a person had observable gaze nystagmus in the eyes that have nothing to do with alcohol intoxication.
The roadside sobriety test is, for the most part, a voluntary test, and any driver has the right to refuse to participate in this test, including a person under 21.
The remaining defenses that may be applied in an underage DUI case apply with equal force to those that may apply in any other criminal case. This includes an analysis of any violation of constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, the right to have any searches and seizures based on probable cause, a proper warrant, and the right to due process in the proper preservation of evidence that may be used against you. Many other defenses are available that rely on scrutinizing and exposing weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, such as biased or incompetent witnesses, flawed crime scene investigation, flawed administration and procedures in collecting breath, blood or urine for forensic testing, incompetent computer evidence, flawed photo lineups and inaccurate crime scene/accident reconstructions.
It is important that you hire a skilled and experienced DUI lawyer to defend you in an underage DUI case in Evergreen or Jefferson County or across Colorado.