The state of Arizona, like most states, recognizes 18 years of age as the so-called “age of majority”. Prior to turning 18, Arizonans are considered minors. Minors in Arizona between the ages of 16 and 18 are legally permitted to apply for a Graduated Driver License (GDL).
While many Arizona teenagers no doubt look forward to the day they are free to drive on their own after obtaining their GDL, minors should be aware of the fact that significant penalties can be imposed on a minor if convicted of a traffic violation. In many cases, those penalties include a driver’s license suspension.
Drinking and Driving Convictions of a Minor
Most minors know that underage drinking and driving is against Arizona law. The specific penalties for such behavior, however, may come as a surprise to anyone who slept through driver’s education class.
Minors and young adults under 21 may be charged with underage drinking and driving even with the slightest trace of (.01 BAC) of alcohol in their system. So long as a minor drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle with alcohol in their body, Arizona Revised Statutes §4-244(34) provides that the minor is to be charged for the offense.
The penalties for an underage drinking conviction can be severe. Arizona classifies this behavior as a Class 1 misdemeanor meaning minors may be ordered to spend anywhere from 0 days to six months in jail. Moreover, minors may be fined up to $2,500 and may be ordered to attend drug screening and treatment classes. Perhaps worst of all, for teenagers who enjoy the freedom of driving, Arizona law requires that the minor’s license be suspended for a mandatory two-year period.
Still, receiving the help of a DUI defense attorney is essential since a judge may choose to be lenient and allow the DMV to issue a restricted driving permit. This permit will let a minor drive to school, to and from their workplace and to and from court ordered alcohol classes during the two-year license suspension.
Additional penalties and punishments for a first offense may include:
- An ignition interlock device for vehicles driven with a restricted permit
- SR-22 insurance for three years
- A lifetime Class 1 misdemeanor criminal record
- Probation and/or community service
Beyond the punishment of the courts, underage drinking will likely raise monthly insurance premiums and have a negative impact on higher education pursuits and potential career opportunities. For these reasons, it is imperative to seek out an Arizona underaged DUI defense lawyer who will fight to have these charges reduced or dismissed.
Additional Traffic Violation Penalties for Minors
In addition to the immediate license suspension and/or revocation caused by underage drinking and driving, any violation related to drug possession also leads to license suspension/revocation.
Additionally, a minor with a GDL will face penalties for receiving any other form of traffic conviction. The number of convictions will determine the penalty imposed.
For a first conviction, minors are mandated by law to attend Traffic Survival School. A second conviction results in a three-month license suspension, and a third conviction will result in a 6-month suspension.
No matter whether it is a minor’s first or third conviction, each and every conviction is recorded on the minor’s driving record. No matter what traffic violation conviction you are facing, an Arizona defense lawyer will help reduce the fallout of a traffic violation conviction.
Contact Tyler Allen Law Firm today for a defense that you can trust. We will work with you on a personal level through each step of the process in order to make sure you get the best possible outcome. Call us at (602)456-0545 today!