An underage Ohio driver and three other individuals in the same vehicle were suspected of being under the influence of alcohol when they were pulled over in a traffic stop on March 29. According to authorities, the incident occurred on Main Street near Cleveland Road in Norwalk just before 2 a.m.
A trooper with the Ohio Highway Patrol allegedly recorded the vehicle traveling at a speed of 47 mph in a 35-mph zone, prompting the traffic stop. The trooper conducted a breath test on the 20-year-old driver; the results allegedly indicated that he had a blood alcohol content of .46 percent when the traffic stop occurred. Additionally, the trooper stated in the police report that a pipe containing what was suspected to be marijuana was found in the vehicle but did not state where in the vehicle the pipe was actually found.
The driver was reported to be a 20-year-old man from Wakeman. He was charged with underage consumption of alcohol in addition to speeding, DUI and possession of drug paraphernalia. The three passengers, ages 19 and 20, were all charged with underage consumption of alcohol.
In Ohio, the legal limit for alcohol consumption for those who are under the age of 21 is .02 percent. Anyone younger than 21 who is suspected of being impaired while driving faces being charged with underage DUI.
The penalties associated with underage drunk driving convictions are steep. For example, if the individual is found guilty on these charges in adult court, he or she may face a maximum of 30 days in jail, a maximum fine of $250 and a potential loss of driving privileges for up to two years. If they are adjudicated as delinquent in juvenile court, they may be sentenced to alcohol treatment, probation and a loss of their driving privileges for maximum of two years.
These penalties make obtaining sound legal counsel especially important for a young person who is bound to encounter challenges seeking educational and occupational opportunities in the future if convicted. A criminal defense lawyer could be able to negotiate a plea bargain that minimizes the consequences of a conviction for a young person or mount a defense that results in the case being dismissed altogether.