A very common charge for minors is the crime of Driving Under Twenty-One After Consuming Alcohol, otherwise known as a “Minor DUI”. In reality, there is nothing particularly “minor” about this crime, and the penalties can still be severe.
What is a “Minor DUI”?
Commonly referred to as a “Minor DUI”, this is a misnomer in that it does not currently count as a DUI on one’s record nor does it invoke the same penalties as a DUI. Below are some of the differences and similarities between a Minor DUI and an a regular DUI.
Differences Between “Minor DUI” and DUI
What differentiates this charge from a DUI, other than the age requirement, is that to be convicted, the person’s BAC need only be a 0.02 or greater. Unlike a DUI, whether or not the individual is impaired generally does not matter. The elements of this charge are set out in RCW 46.61.503. A Minor DUI in Washington does not carry the mandatory penalties of a DUI.
Similarities Between “Minor DUI” and DUI
There are similarities between a Minor DUI and a regular DUI.
Severity of Action
The Department of Licensing will take an action against the license of a minor who has a BAC over a 0.02 the same as it would an adult who had a breath test of a .08. If the minor is under 18, the action could be more extreme.
As with a DUI, the court will be concerned about the alcohol element of the crime. It will likely expect an alcohol evaluation and follow up as it would with a person charged under the DUI statute.
A “Minor DUI” is Still a Crime
Despite the differences between DUI and “Minor DUI” consequences, a “Minor DUI” is still a crime. It is punishable by potential jail, license suspension, probation, and fines. As a simple misdemeanor, it carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, a $1,000.00 fine, and two years of probation.