Anyone under 21 years old is prohibited from consuming, possessing, or purchasing alcohol in Utah and most states in the country. However, it is not uncommon for high school and college students to drink at social functions, despite not being of legal age.
When it comes to underage drunk driving, Utah has a “not-a-drop” law that makes driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in a young person’s system illegal. Even if a young person is drinking in a parked vehicle, he/she could still face DUI charges for having actual physical control over the vehicle.
A first-time DUI results in driver’s license suspension of up to 120 days or until the underage driver becomes 21 years of age, whichever lasts longer. If an underage driver refuses to take a post-arrest chemical test, driver’s license suspension lasts up to 18 months or until he/she turns 21, whichever lasts longer.
If an underage driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08 percent or appears intoxicated if his/her BAC is lower than the legal limit, a first-time DUI is punishable by a maximum six-month jail sentence and a fine of up to $1,000. If an underage driver has a BAC under the legal limit and doesn’t appear intoxicated, he/she could still be charged with unlawful consumption or possession of alcohol, which is also a Class B misdemeanor. If an underage driver is younger than 18 years old, he/she may face a different set of penalties in juvenile court.
Additionally, a DUI can result in other significant consequences, such as having a permanent criminal record that can ruin a young person’s chances of pursuing their career or enrolling in college. If a college student is convicted of a DUI, it can lead to suspension or expulsion.
If you or your child has been charged with a DUI in Salt Lake City, contact Lokken & Putnam, P.C. today at (801) 829-9783 and schedule a free consultation.