YOUTH RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES

DRINKING AND DRIVING

You know what kills more teens every year than anything else? Car crashes. And almost 1/4 of all car crashes involve an underage driver who’s been drinking. As everyone knows, when you drive a car you need to be able to make quick decisions – so even after one or two drinks your slowed-down reaction time seriously raises your likelihood of being in an accident.

Alcohol is a depressant which means that it delays the speed at which your brain is able to process information. It also makes hand-eye coordination much more difficult. You don’t need to be visibly drunk – or to feel drunk at all – in order for your judgment and concentration to be impaired to the point that you pose a serious hazard to your own safety and that of others – your passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.

Driving under the influence of alcohol – also known as “D.U.I.” – has serious consequences. All it takes for you to be arrested and charged is a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of 0.08 or higher within two hours of driving – or being in actual physical control of – any motor vehicle. (When you drink alcohol your body actually converts it into ethanol. “BAC” refers to the percentage of ethanol in your bloodstream at the time it is analyzed.)

Under Arizona law (ARS 28-1381), if you are convicted of D.U.I. you will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. You may be sentenced to 10 days in jail and fined $250 and may also be ordered to perform community service. You may be required to equip any car or other motor vehicle that you operate with a certified ignition interlock device – a device that will prevent the engine from starting until after you’ve submitted a breath sample for instant analysis – and may be required to keep that device on your car for an entire year. You may also be charged other public safety fund fees up to $1000.

A second conviction could mean a 90-day jail sentence and a one-year suspension of your license plus massive additional fines. And if you drive while not only under the influence but excessively so – a BAC of 0.15 or higher – jail sentences range from a minimum of 30 days for a first offense to between four and six months for a second offense.

Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated.  The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here. 

Read 2669 times Last modified on Monday, 26 February 2024 12:09