Interviewer: How is being charged with a DUI/OVI different for people that are under 21years of age?
If You Are Under the Age of 21, Any BAC Level of 0.02 and Above Is a Violation
Dale: It’s a zero tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. Any blood alcohol testing level of 0.02 and above is a violation; the 0.02 is just the margin of error for the machine.
Interviewer: Does that mean that someone could actually have no level of alcohol in their system, but the machine will read the 0.02 because that’s the margin of error, so they are still going to be arrested and charged with an OVI if they’re under 21?
What Charge Will You Be Facing?
Dale: They’ll be charged with what they call an Operating a Vehicle, Underage Consumption, which is almost the same as an OVI, it is actually, however, it has different implications. It is a fourth degree misdemeanor. There is no minimum mandatory time in jail, but there is a license suspension, and there’s also a very long waiting period before you can apply for occupational privileges.
Your First Charge Will Be Factored Into Any Subsequent OVI/DUI Charges After the Age of 21
But the kicker is if you do get charged with an OVI after you’re 21, that will be counted against you. So, if you get an OVI when you’re 23, and you’re within that five year look-back period, it’ll be treated as a second offense in six.
Interviewer: This law covers people under the age of 21 and all the way down to any age that they’re driving, is that right?
This Law Applies to Drivers Under the Age of 18
Interviewer: What about below 18? Would they be charged the same, even though they are legally considered a juvenile?
Dale: They would be charged with the same offense, and because it’s a traffic offense. Now, it should be a juvenile record, but it gets reported to the DMV because it’s a traffic offense. As a result, the charge goes on their record.
Interviewer: So, even a 16-year-old that took his or hers parents keys and drives around and gets pulled over, he or she will still be cited the same way as a 20-year-old?
Dale: Oh, yes, that is the case.