A.R.S. §4-244 (34) defines “Underage Drink and Drive” as illegal if a person under the age of 21 years is found in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Arizona is a “zero tolerance” state when it comes to underage drinking and driving. This means that anyone driving a vehicle under the influence will be charged with DUI, regardless of the fact whether they were actually impaired by the alcohol or not.
Legal Drinking Age In Arizona
According to Arizona laws, the legal drinking age is 21 years. It is illegal for anyone to consume alcohol in Arizona if they are under the age of 21 years. However, there may be exceptions for medical or religious purposes.
Since underage drinking can cause alcohol-related auto accidents resulting in fatalities, there are stricter and harsher penalties in place for those who are under 21 years.
Underage DUI In Arizona
If a driver under the age of 21 years is stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, their blood alcohol level will be checked. If it is anything above 0.00%, the driver can be cited for driving under the influence. This is referred to as the zero-tolerance law in Arizona.
Penalties For Underage DUI
A first time underage DUI conviction carries a minimum prison sentence of 24 hours, up to 10 days. There is also a $1,600 fine levied on the offender, along with license suspension of 90 – 360 days.
A second time underage DUI conviction within 7 years carries a minimum prison sentence of 30 days, up to 90 days. There is also a $2,500 fine levied on the offender, along with license suspension of 1 year.
An underage drunk driver in Arizona may also face additional charges apart from the Underage DUI charge. These charges include minor in possession, distribution of alcohol to other minors, soliciting alcohol, possession of false identification, child endangerment law violations, as well as moving and vehicle maintenance violations.
Some of these charges are defined under A.R.S. § 4-244(40), Minor In Possession – Under 21 with Alcohol in Body and A.R.S. § 4-244(33), Minor/Under 21 Driving with Alcohol in Body. A.R.S. § 4-244(33) is the more serious of the two offenses, also referred to as “Baby DUI”.
Effects On Insurance
Most insurance companies will terminate the policy if the driver is charged with underage DUI. However, some may renew it. There will also be a raise in the monthly premium by $100 to $200 or more, as the driver is now a high risk driver.
This raise in insurance premiums will usually stay there for 3 – 5 years. The driver will also be required to serve an SR-22 certificate to the DMV in order to reinstate their driver’s license after suspension. The form may be furnished by the insurance company to the DMV. The driver will have to check with their insurer if they provide that service.
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