March 22, 2016
Underage DWI Defense During Prom & Graduation Season
Prom and graduation season are approaching fast, which means police will be out in full force looking for impaired teen drivers on the roads. USA Today reported that while teen drunk driving has declined by 54 percent since 1991, there are still times when there is an elevated risk of impaired driving among young people. Police know when local prom nights and local graduations are held and they frequently increase patrolling activities on these nights in an effort to identify young people who are breaking the law and charge them with an underage dwi.
An arrest for impaired driving could affect a young person’s college plans, as Huffington Post lists an arrest for impaired driving as one of the top five reasons why a college might rescind an offer of admission. The expense of a conviction for driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol could also be financially expensive at a time when young people need to save for college, and the loss of a driver’s license could adversely affect summer and college plans. Parents and teens need to be aware of the risk of underage DWI arrests during prom and graduation time when drinking rates increase and need to ensure they take immediate action after an arrest for impaired driving.
DWI Defense During Prom and Graduation Season
Teens can actually face serious legal consequences for impaired driving in many more situations than adults do. A young person under the age of 21 is subject to zero tolerance laws which punish any use of alcohol at all. A teen who has not even had a full drink could end up with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over the legal limit for young people. Because of these zero tolerance rules, teenagers who are not anywhere close to drunk could still find themselves in need of DWI defense help.
Most teens are also unaware of their constitutional rights and would be uncomfortable asserting those rights to a law enforcement officer. While an adult may be more comfortable declining a field sobriety test and an in-field breathalyzer test because an adult is aware of accuracy problems with these types of tests, many teenagers would be frightened and uncomfortable with the idea of declining to perform this testing when asked to by an officer of the law.
When a teen is arrested for impaired driving, parents should consult with an attorney for help as soon as possible. The teenage driver should give a detailed account of the events leading up to the arrest to determine if the traffic stop or BAC testing was justified. If there was no probable cause for a traffic stop or no probable cause of impairment to justify testing, evidence collected against the teenager driver may be suppressed. There may also be options available to first-time teen offenders which would make it possible for them to avoid a criminal record after an arrest. An attorney can help parent and teens to explore options for raising defenses or for negotiating to reduce or avoid criminal consequences after an arrest for impaired driving.