Underage DUI Defense Attorney
We all make mistakes, but those made at a young age can color the rest of someone’s life.
Foolish choices as a minor can result in a lifetime of consequences, especially if the behavior is construed as criminal. One of the most frequently charged criminal offenses for underage defendants is operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). It is also one of the most harshly punished. Potential penalties include driver’s license suspension, vehicle impoundment, jail time, alcohol education classes, monetary fines, probation, and juvenile detention.
If you are facing underage OWI charges or if you are trying to protect a juvenile from the long-term effects of such charges, the Indiana underage OWI defense attorneys at McNeely Stephenson can help. We know that minors are particularly vulnerable clients, and we understand the stress and uncertainty that criminal charges can trigger, no matter what your age. Based in New Albany, Indiana, the minor OWI lawyers at McNeely Stephenson proudly serve communities throughout Kentucky and Indiana including, but not limited to, Jefferson County, KY; Floyd County, IN; Clark County, IN; and Harrison County, IN. Whether you are only a suspect or you have been formally charged, consulting with an attorney can help protect your rights. Don’t risk your future and your freedom. Whatever the situation, talk to us and find out how we can help you. Call 812-725-8224 or fill out our online form.
KY Juvenile DUI/OWI Offense Lawyer
Teenage driving is a risky business, with car wrecks rating as the leading cause of death for that demographic. About 25 percent of those fatal crashes involve an underage driver who has been drinking. In this instance, the term “underage” applies to anyone younger than 21. Someone who is 20 years old faces the same consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol as a 17-year-old motorist.
Getting a driver’s license is a privilege that comes with responsibilities. Indiana law allows individuals as young as 15 to obtain their learner’s permit with enrollment in a driver’s education class. You must be at least 16 years old to apply for a Kentucky learner’s permit. However, the national legal drinking age is 21.
While standard DUI laws allow adults to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of less than 0.08 percent, “zero tolerance” laws restrict drivers who are not 21 years old to a BAC of 0.02 percent. That means even an innocent glass of wine with dinner or a celebratory beer can be enough alcohol for a young driver to be arrested for DUI. In Indiana, an underage motorist with a BAC between 0.02 percent and 0.08 percent commits a Class C infraction. If the BAC measures more than 0.08 percent, then the lesser charge is not available and the driver will instead be charged with at least a Level 5 misdemeanor. In addition to an elevated BAC, other aggravating circumstances that can increase the possible penalties include being a multiple offender, driving on a suspended license, causing a serious accident, and driving with young passengers.
There are numerous defenses that can be raised to fight charges of DUI while under 21, such as:
- Wrong driver/mistaken identity
- Malfunctioning DUI testing equipment
- Improperly administered field sobriety test
- Alcohol was not from a restricted beverage (trace amounts can come from mouthwash, prescriptions, etc.)
- Unlawfully conducted traffic stop
- Unlawful arrest (no probable cause, failure to read Miranda rights, etc.)
- Improperly handled procedural matters.
Let Us Help
The Indiana underage DWI defense lawyers at McNeely Stephenson have the skills and experience needed to ensure that juvenile clients get the effective representation that they deserve. We know how the criminal justice system operates and how to use the unique circumstances of each case to develop a thorough defense strategy that takes advantage of every opportunity for case dismissal, reduction of charges, reduction of sentences, and alternatives to imprisonment. If you or someone you love has been accused of or arrested for underage driving while impaired, let us plan the aggressive defense needed to fight these serious allegations. We will work diligently with you and tirelessly for you. To get more information about your options, contact McNeely Stephenson today by calling 812-725-8224 or filling out our online form. The initial consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose. Getting a criminal defense attorney involved as soon as possible is essential for a favorable outcome so don’t delay.