Over the last year, we’ve talked a lot about driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) and how this affects adults. Unfortunately, adults aren’t the only ones who drink and drive. This month, we look at Oregon DUI laws for minors under the age of 21. It’s unlawful for a person under the age of 21 to drink or even possess alcohol in Oregon. The possession of alcohol may result in a “Minor in Possession” (MIP) charge, which includes a presumptive fine of $260 and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Laws if You’re Under 21 and Get a DUI in Oregon
Minors receiving a MIP will also receive a one-year driver’s license suspension for the first conviction, though it may possibly be lifted after 90 days in some cases. MIPs result in fines and driver’s license suspensions, but what happens if you’re under 21 and get a DUI in Oregon? Driving under the influence of alcohol while being under the age of 21 results in more serious penalties than a MIP.
As a minor, ANY alcohol on your breath or in your blood acts as presumptive evidence of DUI for an administrative license suspension. That means even if you only blow a 0.01% BAC, your license can be suspended as a minor. For adults, the legal BAC limit is 0.08% and for commercial drivers, the legal BAC is 0.04%.
Criminal Charges for an Underage DUI
I’m often asked if underage DUI offenders are treated as adults. Many minor DUI cases are transferred out of juvenile court and into the adult court system. The maximum penalty for an underage DUI filed in adult court is one year in jail, five years probation, a one-year driver’s license suspension and a $6,250 fine.
Underage DUI offenders often will be eligible to participate in Oregon’s DUII diversion program, which includes fees, complying with treatment recommendations and installing an ignition interlock device (IID). If the minor successfully completes the diversion program, the DUII charge will be dismissed at the end of one year.
If you don’t complete diversion or aren’t eligible, the penalties for an underage DUII are similar to those for adult offenders. The first DUII is a class A misdemeanor and the judge may require the following minimum penalties:
- Attendance at a Victim Impact Panel (VIP)
- One-year driver’s license suspension
- $1,000 fine
- 48 hours in jail or 80 hours of community service
- Installation and use of an IID in your vehicle for one year
- Completion of an alcohol and drug abuse assessment and recommended treatment program
As with adults, the minimum penalties increase for second and third DUII offenses in Oregon. Remember, you can be convicted of a DUII for driving under the influence of not only alcohol, but also cannabis and other controlled substances or inhalants.
Contact an Experienced DUI Attorney in Central Oregon
DUI laws can be confusing. During this emotional and difficult time, it’s important to have an experienced and confident attorney on your side. If you’re under 21 and get a DUI in Oregon, or if you are a parent or guardian of a minor who has been arrested for a DUII, contact Nelson Law today. Nelson Law can help you navigate the legal system when presented with underage DUI charges. Call or email us today to set up a free consultation.