Maryland Zero Tolerance Laws: Underage Drinking and Driving

Maryland's Zero Tolerance Laws: Underage Drinking and Driving

Nearly one-third of all deaths of 15-20-year-olds are the result of a motor vehicle crash, and more than a third of those deaths were alcohol-related according to the National Highway Safety Administration. Underage drinking at even low levels presents a higher risk of a fatal crash. So you can see why underage drinking and driving would be taken very seriously and why Maryland has a zero tolerance law.

What is zero tolerance?

Under the Maryland zero tolerance law, if you are under 21 years of age, you are not legally allowed to drink any amount of alcohol before operating a motor vehicle. Police will charge someone under 21 with a DUI (driving under the influence) if their BrAC (breath alcohol content) tests at .02% or higher. For a 160 lb person, that could mean you’ve only had one drink.

While a BrAC of .02% is unlikely to impair anyone’s ability to drive, if law enforcement pulls over anyone under the age of 21 and smells any trace of alcohol, that officer may have enough cause to ask the driver to submit to a preliminary breath test.

What are the penalties for underage drinking and driving?

For a first DUI offense, an underage driver can receive up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The driver is also facing a 6-month license suspension, which can be devastating to someone who relies on driving his or her vehicle to work or school. The punishments increase with subsequent offenses. In addition, anyone under 21 who is convicted of DUI must automatically participate in the ignition interlock program.

If the driver is under 21 years old but at least 18 years old, their DUI case will be handled in a regular criminal court just like any other DUI. The criminal sanctions for an underage DUI will be decided by a criminal court or a juvenile court depending on whether the driver was a minor.

What are the effects of a DUI on your record?

Along with hefty fines, possible jail time, and a suspension of your driver’s license, a DUI conviction can have a lasting impact on your future. Having a DUI on your driving record can increase your car insurance premiums for years to come. This means you’ll be paying for that DUI every time you pay your insurance. In addition, a DUI conviction may prevent you from getting certain jobs

Protect your future and contact an experienced lawyer.

An underage conviction for DUI can have a severe impact on your future. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced DUI attorney to help you put on the best defense. The lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC, will work hard to help you get the best outcome. Contact us online or call us at 866-444-6363 for a free consultation.

About Dianne Freed