Your kids are growing up fast. It seems like just yesterday you were changing their diapers, now they are licensed drivers with active social lives. This newfound independence leads teens to make questionable decisions and hard lessons.

Some of those lessons may be too unforgiving. Arizona law administers harsh penalties for driving under the influence (DUI), including juvenile offenders. A DUI charge could have a lasting impact on your teen’s life, popping up in background checks for apartments, jobs and loans. As a parent, what can you do to help?

Punishments for an underage DUI in Arizona

Arizona is a zero-tolerance state for underage drinking. States that adopt zero-tolerance policies make it illegal for drivers under 21 to have any amount of alcohol in their system. These violations do not even require proof of a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08%, the legal limit. Arizona considers underage DUI a Class 2 misdemeanor. Penalties include up to six months in jail, $750 in fines and two years on a suspended license. A lawyer practiced in criminal defense should have little trouble negotiating a lighter sentence.

However, if your teen’s BAC is at .08 or impaired by drugs, they will face a minimum of 24 hours in jail and the increased penalties of a standard DUI:

  • A minimum of ten days in jail, 24 hours of which cannot be suspended
  • At least $1,480 in fines
  • At least 90 days suspended license
  • One year with an ignition interlock device (IID)

Be aware that underage DUIs often lead to additional criminal charges, including possessing or using fake identification, soliciting alcohol, possession of alcohol by a minor, traffic violations, and even identity theft.

Defend your teen’s rights with the help of a lawyer

As a parent, you can help your teen by hiring a local attorney familiar with Arizona’s DUI laws. With a knowledgeable defense, a lawyer can work with the judge to reduce their sentence and seal their record, protecting their future from teenage mistakes.