Driver Under 21 Consuming Alcohol or Marijuana - RCW 46.61.503 (aka Minor DUI)

As one of Seattle's Best DUI Attorneys I have assisted many clients with their Washington State Minor DUI charge.  A Minor DUI occurs when someone under the age of 21 is caught driving and has either a BAC of .02 or more or any amount of Marijuana (THC) in his or her blood.  If that is the case, they can be charged with Driver Under 21 Consuming Alcohol or Marijuana, but depending upon the level of alcohol or Marijuana they could alternatively be charged with a DUI (RCW 46.61.502).

A prosecutor is under no obligation to charge Minor DUI when a minor has been caught driving.  If that minor's BAC or THC concentration is above the legal limit, it is very likely they will be charged with a "regular" DUI.  A Minor DUI charge is a misdemeanor meaning the maximum penalties are 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. If convicted criminally of a Minor DUI there is no mandatory jail or license suspension and it does not count as a prior DUI for sentencing purposes on any subsequent DUI conviction.  See, RCW 46.61.5055.

A person arrested for a Minor DUI does not avoid any license sanctions however - if charged the officer will notify the Department of Licensing and provide a DUI Hearing Request Form to the offender.  The individual arrested for the Seattle Minor DUI then must request an administrative hearing (telephonic hearing) with the DOL within 20 days from the date of arrest or 20 days from the date of notice of the blood results to challenge any license sanction.

Here is the applicable statute:

Driver Under Twenty-One Consuming Alcohol or Marijuana RCW 46.61.503

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a person is guilty of driving or being in physical control of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol or marijuana if the person operates or is in physical control of a motor vehicle within this state and the person: (a) Is under the age of twenty-one; and (b) Has, within two hours after operating or being in physical control of the motor vehicle, either: (i) An alcohol concentration of at least 0.02 but less than the concentration specified in RCW 46.61.502, as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or (ii) A THC concentration above 0.00 but less than the concentration specified in RCW 46.61.502, as shown by analysis of the person's blood made under RCW 46.61.506.

(2) It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (1) of this section, which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol or marijuana after the time of driving or being in physical control and before the administration of an analysis of the person's breath or blood to cause the defendant's alcohol or THC concentration to be in violation of subsection (1) of this section within two hours after driving or being in physical control. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the earlier of: (a) Seven days prior to trial; or (b) the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant's intent to assert the affirmative defense.

(3) Analyses of blood or breath samples obtained more than two hours after the alleged driving or being in physical control may be used as evidence that within two hours of the alleged driving or being in physical control, a person had an alcohol or THC concentration in violation of subsection (1) of this section.

(4) A violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

If you have been arrested for a Washington State Minor DUI, call us, your Seattle Minor DUI Attorneys - the Seattle DUI Pros for a free consultation (425) 398-4323 or (844) DUI-GONE.

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Seattle DUI Lawyer, Nate Webb, is a repeatedly recognized DUI Super Lawyer practicing in courts throughout Washington State.

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