In Mississippi, driving under the influence for minors and juveniles is treated differently than for adults.  The biggest difference is that with underage drivers, the threshold amount of blood alcohol content to prove intoxication is much lower.  For persons who are above the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages under state law (anyone 21 and older), a BAC of .08% is a legal presumption of intoxication.  For persons who are below the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages (under 21), the BAC is just .02%.

A juvenile or underage driver convicted of DUI in Mississippi will be sentenced under the Zero Tolerance for Minors law, which is in Miss. Code 63-11-30(3).  It applies only to minors with a BAC between .02 and .08.  Minors above .08, or who refused a breath or blood test, will be sentenced under the adult laws.

A minor convicted under the Zero Tolerance law will pay a $250 fine and have his or her license suspended for 90 days, though after 30 days they can apply for a hardship license.  Hardship licenses are usually granted for work, school, or medical reasons.  If such a license is granted, the juvenile or minor will be required to attend an alcohol safety course.  The hardship license is available only to first-time offenders.

If you wish to challenge your case, an Olive Branch underage DUI lawyer should be consulted.  Whether the police had probable cause to make an arrest or whether the right procedures were used in gathering evidence are just some of the issues that should be explored.  However, there may be ways to resolve the case without a trial.

The good news with a Mississippi underage DUI is that it can be nonadjudicated, or dismissed.  This is available only if the minor pleads guilty, rather that goes to trial, and is available only to first-time offenders.  The adjudication is not an expungement.  To expunge the case you must file a petition to the court.

For help in your underage driving case, contact Olive Branch DUI lawyer Patrick Stegall.  A conviction for DUI can have long-term, negative consequences on a young person’s future.  Mr. Stegall represents DUI offenders of all ages throughout North Mississippi, and works with prosecutors and judges to get the best possible outcome in his cases.  Please call him at (901) 205-9894 or email him at pstegall@stegall-law.com.

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