Although Washington State deems a minor (a person 21 years of age or younger) to be under the influence of intoxicants when she has a 0.02 blood alcohol level or greater, it is not uncommon for a prosecuting attorney to charge the minor with an adult DUI in Washington State. This is so because in Washington State an “adult” alcohol related DUI can be charged two ways: (1) with a per se .08 blood alcohol level or greater, and/or (2) a totality of the circumstances, notwithstanding the blood alcohol level. So even though, a person 21 years of age or younger may only have a wine cooler before driving, she can, and most likely will be, charged with a Washington State DUI like an adult, not a minor. Whether the person is charged as an adult or a minor, the costs generally are the same, inclusive of tangible costs (money, directly and indirectly) and intangible costs (lost opportunities – such as jobs, schools, and/or related vocations); regardless of age, a Washington State DUI arrest is generally a very expensive mistake.
It goes without saying that parents should make it a point to talk with their children about the dangers of drinking at an early age; it is not worth it to hope your child “figures it out” on their own. We all know that minors should be encouraged not to drink alcohol before the age of twenty-one, but we also all know it regularly happens. So parents would be wise to encourage their child, if they consume alcohol, to walk, take a cab, call a sober friend or relative, or even anoint someone a designated driver before the drinking begins, ensuring, of course, that person does not drink any alcohol whatsoever during the “outing”.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, if your minor child is cited for DUI in Washington State it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified and reputable Seattle DUI attorney. The consequences of a DUI conviction are life-long, and can unnecessarily cause a negative impact on a child’s aspirations and goals in life. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle DUI lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those charged with DUI in Western Washington. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the DUI allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances.