Driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal in all 50 states. But states also have special drinking and driving laws that apply to drivers under the age of 21. In Alaska, drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from vehicle operation if they have any measurable blood alcohol content.
This article explains when a person may be charged with an underage DUI (often called, "driving after consumption") and some of the possible penalties.
An Alaska driver who's older than 14 but younger than 21 years old can be arrested for operating a vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol.
The arrested offender will generally be required to take a breathalyzer test. If the test results show any amount of alcohol, the arresting officer will issue a citation. Once cited, the offender will typically be released (often to a parent). The offender will also be prohibited from any vehicle operation for the following 24 hours.
Driving after consumption (underage DUI) is an infraction in Alaska. Convicted offenders will face:
The judge might also order participation in a juvenile alcohol safety action program.
If the driver chooses to refuse the officer's request for an alcohol test, the officer can instead charge the driver with a test refusal violation.
The penalties are identical to a driving-after-consuming conviction. However, the fact that a driver refused testing can be used against him or her in other civil or criminal proceedings. For example, a driver can be charged and convicted with both refusal of a chemical test and driving after consuming, effectively doubling all penalties.
At the time of arrest, the officer will certify whether the driver submitted to or refused a chemical test. If the driver refused testing or if the test confirmed consumed alcohol, the officer will issue a notice of revocation. If the driver doesn't appeal, the revocation will be effective ten days after issuance.
A first, second, and third offense will result in a 30-, 60-, and 90-day revocation, respectively. Any future violations will result in a one-year revocation.
If ordered to do so by the judge, the offender must complete any rehabilitation or treatment program prior to license reinstatement.
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence in Alaska, it's a good idea to get in contact with a DUI attorney in your area. A qualified DUI lawyer can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case, let you know if you have any viable defenses, and advise you on how best to handle your situation.