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How do judges decide DUI penalties for drivers under 21?

Posted on September 25, 2020

In the state of Colorado, a variety of penalties exist for any driver convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

However, in determining such penalties, Colorado is sensitive to the plight of drivers under the age of 21 who have their whole lives ahead of them.

Zero tolerance

The zero-tolerance law is for drivers under the age of 21 and means that they must not have any alcohol in their systems while behind the wheel. However, the state takes a more realistic view in that the legal limit is actually 0.02%. The reason for this is that everyone produces some alcohol naturally and that many foods and medications contain some level of alcohol, which could cause an erroneous reading in a breath test.

Standard penalties

If convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving while ability is impaired, a driver under the age of 21 faces a license suspension of three months and the addition of four points to the driving record. An underage driver also faces license revocation for having alcohol in the vehicle.

Factors to weigh

The court understands how a conviction for DUI or DWAI can affect the future of an underage driver. In determining penalties, a judge will take into consideration the age of the driver, the estimated blood alcohol content level, whether there were consequences of the incident such as property damage or injuries, and whether any prior drunk driving convictions exist. A successful defense strategy will address such factors, protect the rights of an underage driver and produce the best outcome possible.