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What if an underage person commits refusal in a DWI case?

Law enforcement in Arkansas keeps a close watch on the road to look for drivers who might be driving while intoxicated. The dangers of DWI are well-known and it is understandable that the law seeks to tamp down on this activity. The laws and penalties related to a DWI conviction are serious for everyone whether they are young or old. Of notable risk for making mistakes on the road are people under age 21. Being arrested and charged with DWI when underage carries with it certain penalties that can cause problems for a younger person.

One issue they might have can come about even if they were not under the influence is refusing to submit to a chemical test. Understanding the law related to underage refusal is the first step toward crafting a defense. When an underage person is suspected of DWI and asked to take a chemical test, a refusal will not prevent the requirement to take it. It will still be given to the person; the driver's license, permit or other document giving the person the legal ability to drive will be taken by the officer; the officer will give the person a temporary driving permit.

Refusal will also lead to a suspension for various time periods depending on how many times the refusal has taken place. A first offense will result in a 90-day suspension; a second offense will result in a one-year suspension; and a third or subsequent offense will result in the license being revoked. The revocation will be in effect until the person turns 21 or for three years, whichever is longer. If the person did not have a license at the time of refusal, he or she will be denied a license for six months if it is a first offense; and one year if it is second offense.

Underage people might be under the mistaken impression that they have the legal right to refuse to take a chemical test. This is not the case. Implied consent means they must submit when asked to do so by a law enforcement officer. Failure will result in penalties that can impact driving privileges and cause other problems in their lives. When charged with refusal, having assistance from a law firm that has experience in DWI cases is critical to avoid the harshest penalties.

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