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What is a Baby DUI?

Recently, a Washington State University football player was accused of Baby DUI. It appears he was under 21 years of age and driving in Pullman, Washington with a breath alcohol content of .076. He'll likely have to fight two separate cases: one against the criminal charge in the courtroom and another against the Washington State Department of Licensing to try to save his driver's license.

Most people, including most attorneys, will use the term Baby DUI when referring to the criminal charge of Driver Under Twenty-one Consuming Alcohol or Marijuana. Some of the elements and consequences of a Baby DUI are the same as an adult DUI, but some of them are different.

In order to be charged with a Baby DUI the driver must be under 21 years of age and operating a motor vehicle within the State of Washington with a breath and/or blood alcohol content (BAC) between .02 and .079 or with a blood draw showing a Marijuana (THC) concentration above 0.00. Adult DUI is driving within the State of Washington with a BAC of .08 or above or a blood draw THC concentration of 5.0 or above. Adult DUI also has an "affected by" prong where one can be convicted if they are actually below the legal limit or if their ability to drive has been affected by their drug consumption. This "affected by" prong is how those who refuse a breath test can be prosecuted for an adult DUI. Baby DUI doesn't have an "affected by" prong.

The consequences of a criminal conviction for Baby DUI are also different than an adult DUI. A conviction for Baby DUI carries possible jail time and fines. Adult DUI convictions carry mandatory jail time and fines. Adult DUI convictions have mandatory requirements for an alcohol/drug evaluation and follow up treatment. Although these are not required for a Baby DUI conviction most judges will require them at sentencing for a Baby DUI conviction. Adult DUI convictions have mandatory loss of driver's license and Ignition Interlock Device (IID) requirements. Baby DUI convictions do not carry a mandatory loss of license or IID, however a Baby DUI driver is at risk of losing his/her license through the Washington State Department of Licensing's administrative DUI Hearing, which is completely separate from the criminal court case.

Baby DUI and adult DUI are serious criminal charges that can carry consequences long after the court case is resolved. An experienced DUI attorney can provide legal advice specific to individual cases and circumstances.

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