Underage DUI Penalties in Nevada

Written by: The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata

Learn the Details of Underage DUI Charges 

You go to a college party and, although you are not yet 21, you grab a drink or two. It gets late, and you realize you have a morning class you can’t miss, so you decide to head back to your place. While on your way home, you see the dreaded flashing lights behind you, and before you know it, you are cuffed in the back of a patrol car, facing an underage DUI charge.  

Getting a DUI in Nevada comes with some serious consequences. A conviction can lead to a suspended license, significant expenses, and even jail time. But if you are under 21 and convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the penalties won’t stop there.   

At the Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata, we provide fierce legal representation for those who have been charged with DUIs and DWIs. Attorney Ogata is an award-winning DUI defense attorney proudly serving clients throughout Las Vegas. Arrested for a DUI? Contact our office at (702) 553-1320 for a free, no-obligation consultation.   

Nevada’s Zero Tolerance Policy for DUIs  

Nevada’s zero tolerance laws aim to combat underage drinking and driving. Statutes NRS 484C.350 and NRS 483.462 make it illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to drive in Nevada with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .02 or higher. Ultimately, this means that if you are under 21 and are caught with any measurable alcohol content, you are in violation of the law.   

What Are the Penalties for an Underage DUI Conviction in Nevada?  

Although being arrested and charged with a crime can be enough of a wake-up call, Nevada imposes several strict penalties to further discourage young drivers from committing a future DUI offense. Penalties for a Nevada DUI may include: 

  • Fines of up to $1,000 
  • Suspension of your driving privileges for up to 185 days
  • Community service
  • Participation in a MADD victim impact panel 
  • Mandatory DUI or traffic safety classes
  • A maximum jail sentence of six months 
  • An order to avoid any further arrests or citations 
  • A possible ignition interlock device (breathalyzer) installed in your vehicle for a minimum of six months

For any subsequent DUI convictions, the penalties will become increasingly harsh and include mandatory jail time and possible felony charges.  

Are There Other Consequences for an Underage DUI?  

The effects of an underage DUI are far-reaching and go well beyond the legal consequences. For example, many colleges, universities, and private institutions impose their own penalties on a student convicted of a DUI, including suspension, expulsion, or disqualification for admittance to the institution.  

As you likely know, auto insurance premiums for young drivers are very costly. However, with a DUI conviction on your record, the cost to stay insured can skyrocket. Some insurance companies may take it a step further and revoke or terminate the insurance policy, leaving you scrambling to find a new insurer.  

What About Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana?  

Like many other states, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in Nevada but only for those over 21. However, driving under its influence is still illegal regardless of the driver’s age. Convictions for driving under the influence of marijuana or another controlled substance hold much of the same penalties associated with driving under the influence of alcohol.   

Are There Any Defenses to an Underage DUI Charge?  

Fortunately, several defenses may be effective in minimizing or preventing any associated penalties. DUI defenses include but are not limited to the following:

  • The alcohol in your system was from another source, such as mouthwash or cough syrup
  • The officer made a procedural error 
  • Your blood alcohol level was rising when you took the test 
  • The traffic stop was unlawful 
  • The BAC testing equipment wasn’t calibrated properly 
  • The equipment was not functioning properly 
  • The testing procedures were not followed 
  • You were not the driver

Getting Legal Help 

 If you are facing under-21 DUI charges in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Nevada, one of the first things you should do is contact an underage DUI defense attorney.   

Working with an experienced DUI lawyer will help you explore your legal options. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest to identify elements that can be used as a basis for your defense. They will also create a compelling argument and advocate on your behalf to have your charges reduced or dismissed.  

Garrett Ogata is passionate about protecting the rights of his clients. He works tirelessly to provide each client with a proactive defense strategy tailored to their unique case. To learn more about how we can help you fight your DUI, Contact our office at (702) 553-1320 to arrange a free, confidential consultation.

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