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DUI Under 18


Minors driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs might face stricter penalties than adults facing standard DUI (Driving under the Influence). This is because younger people driving under the influence might incur worse damages and because underage drinking is prohibited by law in the first place. But what does really constitute DUI under 18? And what are the penalties one can face if found guilty of it? We learn in this article.

Nevada Revised Statutes on DUI Under 18

It is in the Chapter 484C of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) where DUI is classified as a criminal offense in the State. It denotes that anyone who is found intoxicated of alcohol or other substances at a certain level while in control of a vehicle can be tried for either a misdemeanor or a felony. Now, this law also covers minors or underage citizens of Nevada.

The age of majority in Nevada is 18 which is when a person is considered a legal adult. However, according to NRS 202.020, it is still illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase and drink alcohol. Anyone who does so is guilty of Minor Possession of Alcohol that is usually coupled with DUI as a minor charge.

Now, minors can definitely drive. Through a learner’s permit, a person under 18 can control a vehicle and navigate the road until they are an adult and ready for a proper license. Of course, this privilege holds certain responsibilities. As written in NRS 483.461, a minor with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration level) of 0.02 or higher can lose their driver’s license as well as face particular charges.

Since Nevada citizens under the age of 18 are still considered as juveniles, many are wondering on which court DUI under 18 cases will go. Is it a criminal or a juvenile court? The answer is it depends.

If the offender is under the age of 18, it should be a juvenile court, especially if the DUI was only a misdemeanor. It is only offenders over the age of 18 to 21 that will proceed to a criminal court that is unless the minor does something too heavy for a juvenile court.

Penalties of DUI as a minor

Minors under 18 that are guilty of first-time DUI shall be imposed with a misdemeanor charge. Typically this charge includes a juvenile hall sentence, set of community services, fixed amount of fines, and mandatory attendance to DUI prevention programs.

This is only for a juvenile court. What happens when you get DUI under 21? You will be tried for criminal court, the defendant can be penalized with the same DUI penalties as the standard adult DUI.

Defenses and other remedies against DUI under 18

If you are battling a DUI under 18, you can argue that your recklessness is the prime cause of your offense but this angle can be far-fetched and you definitely need something more concrete. With the aid of your legal advisor, you can use the following defenses:

  • You were stopped unlawfully by the police officer – On this defense, you can argue that the police pulled you over without a strong probable cause or bumped your car to make you stop.
  • Your BAC level did not exceed the limit – You can present this if you believe your DUI under 18 arrest was caused by a faulty Breathalyzer test.
  • Plea bargains – Through the help of your DUI lawyer, your charges could be reduced to reckless driving especially if the DUI case was mild in nature.
  • If you have decided to accept the charges and plead for guilty, know that your records will be sealed the moment you turn 21 but if you cannot wait that long, you can apply for record sealing three years after your sentence in the juvenile court.

There is a deeper reason why underage drinking and driving is under a “zero tolerance” policy in Nevada. It is to protect the young from untimely destruction of their lives and, quite possibly, their unlikely demise. If you are charged with DUI as a minor in the State of Nevada, know that you are being indicted for your own benefit. Still, no one wants to end up in jail or pay measly fines. To avoid these, better get the help of a DUI lawyer serving in Las Vegas and other areas in Nevada!

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