Criminal Defense Attorney Jeremy L. Huss discusses Underage “Baby” DUI Charges

What is an underage DUI in Arizona? Arizona has a special “Baby DUI” for underage drivers who consume alcohol or drugs prior to driving. A.R.S. 4-244(34) defines “Baby DUI”. Indeed, the difference between an underage driver DUI and an adult driver DUI comes down to proof requirements. In an adult DUI, the State must prove either impairment or a certain alcohol (.08% or greater) or drug blood level. On the contrary, an underage DUI does not require proof of either. Rather, the State must merely prove a driver under 21 consumed a sip of alcohol. The reason for this is obvious.

In Arizona, it is illegal for a person under age 21 to consume or possess alcohol. So driving with any amount of alcohol (or drugs) will result in a “Baby DUI” conviction. Simply put, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers under 21 in Arizona is 0.00%. This means that any detectable amount of alcohol in the system of a person under 21 who is operating a motor vehicle can result in an underage DUI charge. Arizona prosecutes all DUI cases severely. This includes “Baby DUI’s”. Any person charged with this offense should expect significant consequences. Which is why it is important to have experienced and seasoned representation.

“Baby” DUI & Penalties in Arizona

ARS 4-244(34) defines “Baby DUI”. This refers to a person under 21 operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. And, the person has any alcohol or drug in their system, as just discussed above.

The penalties for “Baby DUI” differ somewhat from adult DUI’s. Indeed, the biggest difference is a Baby DUI does not require mandatory minimum jail time. All adult DUIs in Arizona require at least one-day mandatory jail. But a first-time Baby DUI offender is eligible to serve no jail. However, a Baby DUI will call for other potential consequences including:

  • Alcohol or Drug Counseling
  • Mandatory 2-Year Driver’s License Suspension–(Judicial Discretion whether to grant temporary-restricted license).
  • Up to 6 Months in Jail as a term of probation
  • Up to 5 Years Probation
  • Community Restitution (a.k.a. Community Work Service)
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device Requirement for 2 Years

These are harsh potential consequences. And these are just first offense numbers. All DUI prosecutions obviously become harsher with prior DUI convictions. Second offenses within 84 months carry the same consequences only lengthier and harsher. Also, a third offense DUI is a felony (as a third or more offense within 84 months).

Misdemeanor and Aggravated DUI for Minor Underage Drivers

Misdemeanor DUI for Underage Drivers

The State can also charge an underage driver with misdemeanor or felony DUI in Arizona. Specifically, a driver “impaired to the slightest degree” or having a Blood Alcohol level above .08%. The State charges misdemeanor DUI under either A.R.S. 28-1381 or 28-1382 here. Moreover, felony aggravated DUI charges under A.R.S. 28-1383 are potential. In addition, other misdemeanor offenses potentially follow. This includes underage consumption of alcohol and/or minor in possession of alcohol, depending on the facts.

Felony Aggravated DUI for Underage Drivers

Certain factors exists which could result in felony aggravated DUI charges. Specifically, a “Baby DUI” conviction requires a mandatory 2-Year Driver’s License Suspension. An 18-year old convicted of “Baby DUI” under A.R.S. 4-244(34) who drives impaired while under the 2-year license suspension will likely face a felony prosecution. This prosecution would be under A.R.S. 28-1383(A)(1) for Aggravated DUI due to License Suspension.

In addition, the same felony result will occur if a person with a “Baby DUI” drives impaired with the ignition interlock device required. Aggravated DUI due to the Ignition Interlock Device Requirement falls under A.R.S. 28-1383(A)(4). Also, an underage driver could commit Aggravated DUI by committing a third or more offense within 84 months pursuant to A.R.S. 28-1383(A)(2). Or, an underage driver could drive down the wrong side of a highway or freeway and commit Aggravated DUI under A.R.S. 28-1383(A)(5). Finally, an underage driver could commit Aggravated DUI by driving with a Minor under 15 Years Old is present in the vehicle under A.R.S. 28-1383(A)(3).

All Aggravated DUIs are Class 4 Felonies, except Aggravated DUI Driving With A Minor Under 15 Years Old which is a Class 6 Felony. Harshly, the Class 4 Felonies, except Aggravated DUI Due to the Ignition Interlock Device Requirement, require not less than 4 months mandatory prison as a term of probation.

Indeed, both misdemeanor and felony Aggravated DUI prosecutions are realistic after a “Baby DUI” conviction. Convictions for either may carry significant consequences, as briefly discussed above. In addition to the financial and liberty issues, drivers convicted of Aggravated DUI face license revocations. However, a Baby DUI conviction carries a lengthy driver’s license suspension.

“Baby” DUI Carries a 2-Year License Suspension

Under A.R.S. 28-3322(A), any driver between aged 18, 19 or 20 convicted of “Baby DUI” shall face a 2-year license suspension. This is harsh, in light of the above discussion. Luckily, A.R.S. 28-3322(B) allows the Court to grant a temporary-restricted license. A temporary-restricted license allows a person drive to work, school and other responsibilities. However, a temporary-restricted license is not a guarantee as it is within the Court’s discretion. However, most Courts want to encourage a person to remain employed or better themselves through education. As such, most courts will grant temporary-restricted licenses, unless the driver has demonstrated a lack of responsibility. An example of a driver demonstrating a lack of responsibility includes a person consistently ignoring driving restrictions. Simply put, a person who continues to drive on a restricted license. Or, this includes a person not following court orders following the DUI conviction.

Huss Law, PLLC is Tempe Arizona’s Best Underage DUI Attorney

The consequences of an underage DUI in Arizona are harsh. A DUI conviction directly impacts a person’s liberty, driving and financial interests. It is important to consult with and retain experienced DUI counsel. Jeremy L. Huss of Huss Law, PLLC has been handling all levels of Arizona DUI cases for over 20 years. He has significant experience due to his nearly 13 years as a prosecutor.

Mr. Huss has been lead counsel in countless Arizona DUI cases. As a prosecutor, Mr. Huss provided instruction to law enforcement on DUI investigations. And he has trained police on search and seizure issues and courtroom etiquette. Mr. Huss is an expert in DUI blood draw and breath testing issues. He is also intimately familiar with DUI investigations, and DUI defenses. These defenses include: (1) No Reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop; (2) Denial of Right to Counsel; (3) Whether the driver had “actual physical control” of the motor vehicle; (4) Problems with the Intoxylizer Breath Test; and (5) Problems with Blood Testing.

Any person who is under investigation or charges for DUI should contact 20-plus year former prosecutors to consult and retain. Call Huss Law Today for a Free Consultation!

White Courthouse with Tall Multiple Pillars in the front with a Mountain backdrop; A courtroom where an Underage Baby DUI prosecution may take place
Categories:: DUI