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Underage DUI Charges Explained By A Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

January 25, 2017

In Colorado, the legal drinking age is 21, which means it is illegal to consume alcohol under the age of 21. Although adults can be charged with a DUI for driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or greater, it’s different for people under the age of 21. Because of the legal limit, a driver can be arrested if he is under the age of 21 and has a BAC level of 0.02% or greater. Here’s everything you need to know about underage DUI charges explained by John Buckley, a Denver criminal defense attorney:

The Charges

As a driver under the age of 21 in the state of Colorado, you could face one of two charges if you are driving under the influence. If your BAC level is between 0.02% and 0.05%, you could face an Underage Drinking and Driving offense (UDD). In Colorado, this is also known as a 'baby DUI.'  However, if your BAC level is above 0.05%, you will face the same penalties as adult drivers over the age of 21 who are arrested for DUI or DWAI. Learn more about Colorado underage DUI charges here.

Criminal Penalties

If it’s your first UDD, you will likely only face fines of up to $100 and community service. However, if you have been arrested for UDD before, the penalties increase. Repeat offenders will face up to 90 days in jail as well as up to $300 in fines and community service.

However, if your charge is not a UDD because your BAC level was higher than 0.05%, you will face jail time and higher fines even if it’s your first offense. In both cases, you will also have your driver’s license suspended, which makes it difficult to get to work or school.  It is especially important to consult with a DUI attorney if this is a repeat offense.

Many judges throughout the Denver area are even more strict on their sentencing when it comes to those defendants who are under 21 and charged with DUI. Their rationale is that a strong sentence will act as an eye opener and make it less likely for that defendant to re-offend.

Insurance Penalties

The penalties you face with your insurance company after being charged with an underage DUI will vary depending on the company. However, many companies will immediately terminate your policy or exercise their right not to renew it once it is expired. If they decide to keep your policy intact, your monthly premiums will probably increase by about $200.

Other Charges

Adults who are arrested for DUI while underage may face other charges as well, depending on the circumstances of the arrest. For example, if alcohol is present in the car at the time of the arrest, you could face Minor in Possession (MIP) charges. If convicted, you will have to pay additional fines, attend alcohol education programs, and perform community service. If the police officer finds you used a fake ID to purchase the alcohol, you could also be charged with Possession of False Identification.   Depending on the circumstances, these charges could rise to the level of a felony.  Finally, if you were pulled over because of erratic or reckless driving, the police officer may also issue traffic tickets for any laws of the road that you may have violated.

Have you been charged with a DUI? The Law Office of John Buckley in Denver can assist you with every aspect of your legal case. We work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure our clients receive the best representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley today to schedule a legal consultation.