Underage DUI

Underage DUI2021-03-22T18:55:08+00:00

Minors (18 to 20 years old)

Nevada DUI laws treat underaged (aged 18 to 20 years old) individuals differently in DMV or administrative proceedings, depending upon the minor’s alleged blood alcohol content, when it comes to underage DUI charges. If the underaged individual’s alleged BAC is 0.08 or higher, they are treated exactly as an adult, meaning a per se administrative revocation of 90 days. This is true for both administrative and criminal proceedings. However, if an individual between the ages of 18 and 20 gets arrested for an underage DUI with an alleged BAC between 0.02 and 0.079, he faces administrative sanctions that an adult would not face. Because he is not old enough to legally drink, persons between the ages of 18 and 20 can be administratively punished if their BAC is reported to be between 0.02 and 0.079.  However, minors between the ages of 18 and 20 do not face license revocations; they face license suspensions. The length of the suspension is 90 days. Similar to adults facing administrative DUI proceedings, a minor (aged 18 to 20 years old) has the right to challenge a suspension.

Juveniles (less than 18 years old)

Nevada law defines a “child” or “juvenile” as “[a] person who is less than 18 years of age.” “[T]he juvenile court has exclusive original jurisdiction over a child living or found within the county who is alleged or adjudicated to have committed a delinquent act.” In Nevada, juveniles do not get criminally charged or convicted of DUI unless they are first certified as an adult. Juveniles can only be certified as adults in felony DUI cases. The juvenile courts do not file criminal charges or complaints, but rather, petitions alleging either delinquency or a need of supervision.

[A] child commits a delinquent act if the child . . . [v]iolates a county or municipal ordinance . . . [v]iolates any rule or regulation having the force of law; or . . . [c]ommits an act designated a criminal offense pursuant to the laws of the State of Nevada. 

Therefore, a juvenile does not get criminally convicted of DUI but can be adjudicated delinquent for violating Nevada’s DUI laws. A juvenile that is adjudicated delinquent pursuant to Nevada law “is not a criminal and any adjudication is not a conviction.” A juvenile DUI adjudication “does not amount to a final conviction.” This means that a juvenile delinquency adjudication for a violation of Nevada’s DUI laws cannot be used to enhance a subsequent DUI offense, even if the subsequent offense was committed when the individual is no longer a juvenile. Although juveniles cannot be criminally convicted of DUI, they do face driver’s license sanctions similar to adults when arrested for an underage DUI. Specifically, juveniles that are adjudicated delinquent for violating Nevada’s DUI laws face a 185-day driver’s license revocation.

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