Driving under the influence is a serious offense, but a DUI for drivers under 21 years of age, can be really tough for the accused. Across the U.S., law enforcers are highly committed to making sure that underage drunk drivers are given tough punishments to prevent them from repeating the mistake. Hefty fines, suspension of license or impoundment of the vehicle- the accused may have to face any or all of these in addition to possible jail time too.
Underage DUI in Maryland
If the driver is under 21 years of age, and is found driving when tests show a BAC of 0.02% or more, he or she may be cited for underage DUI. For an underage driver who has been cited for the first time for DUI and whose BAC is between 0.02% and 0.05%, license suspension for 3 months is a given. In addition to this, the driver may have to pay fines and participate in community service for a specified number of hours.
If the underage driver’s BAC is above 0.05%, the consequences can be far more serious and a term of imprisonment ranging anywhere between 5 days to a year may be awarded in addition to fines and license suspension.
Repeat offenders face more severe consequences with even those (underage) being caught DUI for the second time facing an automatic suspension of license for 6 months if BAC is between 0.02% and 0.05%. If higher, the individual may face imprisonment up to 6 months apart from fines and license suspension for a year.
Refusing the test
According to Maryland’s Expressed Consent law, you consent to a chemical breath test to determine BAC levels when you apply for your license. When an officer pulls you over on suspicion, this consent comes into play. You can choose to take a test of your blood or breath but you cannot change it later on without it being recorded as refusal to consent unless there are extenuating circumstances. Maryland law further allows suspension of your license for a one-year period for refusal to take the test.