Interviewer: As far as drugs, or legal medications, like prescription medications, are concerned. Is the process the same as with alcohol?
Brian Sloan: The under-21 with medications or with drugs is pretty much treated the same as under-21 with alcohol. If there’s some type of impairment substance that a person under the age of 21 is not supposed to have in their system, then it’s illegal.
Interviewer: What are some things that would help a case or improve the chances of success when someone is under-21?
Brian Sloan: I think if they talk with their family, and make a family decision to get them into counseling, either inpatient or outpatient. I think that will help them personally, with their family, and in dealing with the charges. I think they need to stay involved in the case. There’s a tendency where the children just let the parents take charge and let the parents make the decision for them.
They need to understand that their actions put them in this position. They need to make a decision on whether they want to continue to fight the case or if they want to take a plea agreement, and then what type of plea agreement they want to take. They need to make the choice on whether they to go to trial, or if they want to have certain motions argued on their behalf. In other words, there needs to be involvement. Otherwise, there’s a concern that the issue is not going to be resolved.
The point of us having these laws, of driving under the age of 21 with alcohol on the body and DUI, is to teach people that it’s not appropriate. Hopefully they learn their lesson, and move forward in life to become productive members of society. It isn’t meant to destroy people’s lives, although sometimes it does. It is meant to change people’s bad decisions.
Interviewer: For the 21 and under, could they be subjected to the use of the ignition interlock device?
Brian Sloan: They could be, especially if the judge orders that they be allowed to drive to and from work and school on a restricted driving permit. It would be an ignition interlock device restricted driving permit.
Interviewer: What about insurance? How does that affect their insurance? If they have very basic insurance, how does that affect it if they’re under the age of 21?
Brian Sloan: It’s completely up to the insurance company if they want to raise their premiums and raise their rates. It’s nothing here I can answer specifically. Generally, if it is determined or discovered that someone had a conviction for being under the age of 21 and driving with alcohol in the system or a DUI, chances are insurance rates are going to go up.
MVD Hearings for Underage DUI
Interviewer: For the 21 and under, the DMV hearing, how would that play out?
Brian Sloan: It depends. I don’t believe that there’s any ramifications for being under the age of 21 with alcohol in the body or drugs in the body as far as having one’s license suspended for being suspected of DUI, or for being under the age of 21 with alcohol in the body while driving. If someone simply has alcohol in the body, but it is not above a .08, and the person is not charged with regular DUI under Title 28, then I do not believe they’re going to have to deal with the Motor Vehicle Division suspension for being suspected of being under the age of 21 and driving with alcohol in the system.
If the person is under the age of 21 and happens to have a blood alcohol level above a .08, or has drugs or prescription medications in their system then, just as with an adult, they are going to have to deal with the Motor Vehicle Division consequences for being suspected of DUI.
Interviewer: Let me give you a scenario. Let’s say I was 19 years old, and I came back from a party. I’m driving with a friend, and we’ve both obviously had a little something to drink. We were stopped, maybe, for an incomplete stop, or something like that. We refused the field sobriety test, but we took the Breathalyzer test that showed that we were above a .08. How do you think, at that point, my case would play out?
Brian Sloan: It’s basically going to play out the same way that a regular DUI is going to play out. There’ll be a court appearance in one of the regular courts, the justice courts or the city courts, as long as it’s a misdemeanor charge. It’d play out in the felony courts if it was a felony charge. The only thing different would be an additional charge of driving under the age of 21 with alcohol in the body.
There would have to be a determination between the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and the client as to what might be in the client’s best interest. They would decide if the determination should a DUI, a plea agreement, a DUI plea agreement, or if this would be better suited as an under the age of 21 while driving and alcohol in the system plea agreement.