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An underage West Virginia DUI can have long-range implications

If you have ever been convicted of driving under the influence you appreciate that the penalties can have a significant effect on your life. Even if you've never personally been in that situation, you may know someone who has. Either way, you know the fallout from a DUI conviction can be serious.

First-time defendants in DUI cases are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to dealing with the allegations. Unfamiliarity with the legal system can leave a person feeling lost and probably a little scared. The important thing to remember is that being arrested does not mean you are guilty. You have a right to a vigorous defense against DUI charges, and a skilled attorney can help.

Those over 21 who drink and drive could face charges if authorities should happen to be able to obtain evidence that the suspect's blood alcohol content was 0.08 percent or higher. But if you happen to be a driver between 16 and 21, the BAC limit is even more stringent under the state's zero-tolerance law.

A BAC of just 0.02 percent can bring a charge of underage DUI and it doesn't take much to get to that reading. Just one beer or glass of wine, even with food, can put you over the mark. In fact, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notes, some cough medications, mouthwashes or breath sprays can elevate your BAC. And information from the state of California confirms that just one teaspoon of a cough medication could return a reading of 0.01 percent.

As we've already said, the punishments allowed for a conviction can be hard to handle. But for an underage person, the implications of having a criminal record are such that the effects could be felt well into the future.

With so much at stake, it's worth doing all you can to achieve the best outcome possible.

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Law Office of P. Zachary Stewart
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