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What are the Penalties for an Underage DUI in Nevada?

In Nevada, lawmakers are particularly harsh on minors who have been accused of drinking and driving. For this reason, the state upholds a "zero tolerance" policy in regard to underage DUI offenses. This legal standard maintains that an individual under the age of 21 could be charged with a misdemeanor DUI if it is discovered that they have been operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% or higher. Although the legal limit for an adult driver would be .08%, it would not matter if the underage offender was actually "under the influence" or not. Instead, it would only be necessary for the prosecution to prove that the minor's BAC was measured in excess of .02%. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you retain the help of a Reno DUI defense lawyer if you are facing such charges.

Although the penalties associated with underage DUI are not much different from those waged against adult offenders, it is important to understand that there are numerous separating factors. First, minors under the age of 18 who have been arrested for a misdemeanor DUI offense would typically be prosecuted in juvenile court. If the severity of the crime had risen to the level of a felony, however, the minor could be tried as an adult in criminal court—which means that standard penalties would apply. In Nevada, one could only be charged with felony DUI if they a) had two prior DUI convictions in the last seven years, b) had a prior felony DUI conviction or c) caused a fatality or serious bodily injury to another. Finally, offenders between the ages of 18 and 20 would be charged in criminal court.

If the minor is convicted, they would typically face the same penalties as an adult. The only difference would be that they could be required to submit to an alcohol and drug evaluation and face the loss of their driver's license for a minimum of 90 days. Aside from that, they could also be sentenced to juvenile hall or jail for 2 days to 6 months, subjected to designated fines and asked to enroll in Nevada DUI School. In most cases, the minor would also be asked to wait seven years before requesting that their criminal record be sealed. For this reason, the Reno DUI attorney at The Law Office of Walter B. Fey encourages you to take preventative measures as soon as you have been arrested. By contacting our firm today at 1-888-339-4384, you can get started on building the effective defense that you will need.