Underage DUI

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Las Vegas Underage DUI Lawyer

Experienced Litigator Defending Youths Charged with Underage Drinking and Driving

In the State of Nevada, it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or 0.02 percent or higher. If your child is arrested for driving under the influence in Las Vegas, you need an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the legal process.

Contact the Miley Law Firm, P.C., to speak directly with a knowledgeable Las Vegas underage DUI lawyer. We understand that this may be a difficult time for you and your family. One youthful indiscretion can have severe consequences on your child’s future. We are here to help. Call (702) 850-3600 to request a free consultation.

Nevada Underage DUI Laws

Nevada law prohibits persons over the age of 21 from driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher; the rules are much stricter for children who are underage. 

Nevada operates under a “zero tolerance” law for people who are under the age of 21. Pursuant to NRS 483.462 and NRS 484C.350, it is unlawful for a person who is 21 years of age or less to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or higher. 

What Are the Penalties for an Underage DUI?

If your child is arrested for driving under the influence in Las Vegas, they may face a number of penalties. 

Punishments that can be imposed by a criminal court include:

  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Completion of an educational course on alcohol
  • Imprisonment for two days, up to a maximum of six months
  • Community service
  • A fine of not less than $400 or more than $1,000
  • Mandatory attendance of a MADD Victim Impact Panel

The court will also require that your child undergo a drug or alcohol evaluation to determine if they need treatment. An arrest for driving under the influence does not mean that your child will automatically be convicted. In order to fight the charges, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a Las Vegas underage DUI lawyer prior to your child’s first court appearance.

Are There Consequences Beyond Court?

A conviction for an underage DUI can profoundly impact your child’s future. Colleges and universities often take a student’s moral character into consideration. A conviction for driving under the influence or other alcohol-related crime could negatively affect your child’s chances of getting into a prestigious school.

Other consequences could include:

  • Limiting scholarship opportunities
  • Removal from extracurricular activities
  • Suspension from school sports
  • Required disclosure on job applications
  • Affecting your ability to obtain a professional license

While these potential consequences are severe, your child may be eligible for some forms of relief under Nevada law, including sealing their juvenile record. To discuss your child’s legal options, call our office to speak with a Las Vegas underage DUI lawyer.

Will My Child Go to Juvenile Court?

If your child is arrested for an underage DUI in Las Vegas, their case may be heard in juvenile court depending on how old they are and the nature of the charges. In addition, if your child is over the age of 18 at the time of the offense, their case will be filed in criminal court.

A child who is under the age of 18 and charged with a misdemeanor DUI offense will generally have their case heard out of juvenile court. However, for felony drunk driving cases, they may be heard out of juvenile court or adult criminal court. A judge has the discretion to determine whether a minor should be certified as an adult.

What Are the Penalties in Juvenile Court for Underage DUI?

In juvenile court, a minor who violates one of the following alcohol-related offenses may face penalties and a license suspension under NRS 62E.640:

  • NRS 484C.110 (Driving Under the Influence)
  • NRS 484C.120 (DUI while operating a commercial vehicle)
  • NRS 484C.130 (Vehicular homicide)
  • NRS 484C.430 (DUI with substantial bodily injury or death)

If your child has a driver’s license and is found in violation of one of the above-mentioned offenses, their driving privileges may be suspended for 185 days. Your child may be allowed to obtain a restricted driver’s license upon completion of certain conditions imposed by the court or the Department of Motor Vehicles, including the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

An ignition interlock device or IID is a breathalyzer that is installed on a person’s vehicle. The device tests a person’s breath to determine the concentration of alcohol. If the device detects an alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or higher, the vehicle will not start. 

If your child is ordered to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle that they own or operate, they will be required to install it at their own expense. The installation and maintenance fee is in addition to any reinstatement or restricted license fees imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles

Does My Child Have to Undergo an Evaluation?

According to NRS 484C.350, if a person is convicted of driving under the influence and was under the age of 21 at the time of the violation, the court shall require an evaluation to determine whether the offender has an alcohol or other substance abuse disorder. 

The evaluation must be completed by a licensed alcohol or drug counselor, a physician, or an advanced practice registered nurse and take place at an evaluation center with limited exceptions. The state of Nevada is extremely tough on underage drinking and driving. If your child is facing charges or has been arrested, call our Las Vegas underage DUI lawyer today.

What If My Child’s BAC Was Under .08?

While it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or higher, there may be reduced penalties if their BAC was under 0.08 percent. For instance, if your child is under the age of 21 and found to have a BAC of higher than 0.02 percent but less than 0.08 percent, their license may only be suspended for 90 days with restricted license eligibility after 45 days.

Are There Any Defenses to an Underage DUI?

As with an adult drunk driving charge, there are several potential defenses if your child has been charged with a DUI. Without the help of a highly-qualified juvenile defense attorney, your child may not receive the best possible outcome in their case. In many cases, early intervention may be crucial to obtaining a favorable result in your child’s case.

Possible defenses in an underage DUI include:

  • Lack of probable cause for arrest
  • Illegal stop
  • Insufficient evidence
  • Improperly working breathalyzer
  • Underlying medical condition

Should My Child Accept a Plea Bargain?

Depending on the circumstances of the case, a plea bargain may be the best option based on your child’s charges. Entering a plea to a lesser offense could lessen the criminal penalties and long term consequences. Ultimately, a plea bargain may help to get the charges reduced or dismissed. However, you should never plea to an offense without having your case reviewed by a Las Vegas underage DUI lawyer. 

It is essential to have an independent investigation into your child’s stop and arrest to determine whether they were valid and legal. In some cases, it may be crucial to subpoena the calibration and maintenance logs of the breathalyzer to determine whether or not they were faulty. 

How We Can Help

For over 20 years, we have helped individuals and their families navigate the legal system. At the Miley Law Firm, we always provide our clients with the highest level of representation, ensuring that they receive the best possible outcome in their case. As a parent, we know that you want to do everything you can to help protect your child. Let us help you protect them after an arrest.

Our founding attorney, Edward R. Miley, is a former Peace Pro Tempore of the Las Vegas Justice Court. He is licensed to practice law in California, Nevada, Texas, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. With a proven track record of success defending the rights of young people, he has the experience and dedication you need to help your child through this tough time. 

Contact the Miley Law Firm for a Free Consultation

If your child has been arrested in Las Vegas for an underage DUI, we can help. Contact the Miley Law Firm to discuss your case with an attorney. Mr. Miley is well-versed in defending the rights of young adults and will vigorously advocate for a suitable disposition in your child’s case.

It is always in the best interest of your child to contact our office as soon as possible. The earlier we can get involved in a case, the better the chances that we can help. Call (702) 850-3600 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation. 

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