If you are a college student or the parent of a student who is currently facing criminal charges related to underage drinking and driving, you know the importance of taking quick action. Your education, future and even your personal freedom is on the line, but you still have options.
As with any other type of criminal allegations, you have the right to confront a criminal charge with a strong defense. In Maryland, underage drunk drivers can face penalties more severe than even those faced by drunk drivers over the age of 21. If convicted, it will remain on your criminal record, as state law does not allow for the expungement of these types of crimes.
The penalties for underage drinking
Maryland takes a strong stance against drunk driving, especially when the driver is under the age of 21. College students arrested for underage DUI may face the following:
- Automatic participation in the ignition interlock program
- For possession of a fake ID, fines up to $500 and up to 2 months in prison
- Accumulation of points on your driving record
- Possible suspension or revocation of your driver's license
The criminal penalties are just the beginning of the ways that an underage DUI can affect your life. As a college student, there is much more at stake. A criminal conviction of any kind can lead to the following:
- Loss of scholarships
- Removal from certain student organizations
- Loss of leadership positions
- Expulsion from school
Your education is important, and a one-time mistake does not have to derail your plans for your future. With help, you can protect your right to continue attending your higher-learning institution, keep your right to drive and prevent a conviction from affecting future employment opportunities.
How can you fight back?
An effective defense against an underage DUI is comprised of several actions, which can include:
- Challenging the results of a Breathalyzer or other chemical test results
- Challenging the validity of the suspected drunk driving traffic stop
- Seeking alternate, less harsh penalties
The right approach for your defense depends on the circumstances of your individual case. One of the most effective ways to protect your educational and personal interests is to seek the help of a legal professional as soon as possible after an arrest. Whether you were wrongfully charged or simply want to move on from a mistake common among college students, you do not have to confront your situation alone.