Most us probably go through our daily lives without thinking much about how certain laws might one day affect us. We often only worry about laws when we (or a loved one) are personally affected by them.

That’s often the case with Scottsdale residents arrested for DUI. While they certainly know that DUI laws exist, they’re often not clear that there are a variety of impaired driving laws and what the laws state.

Arizona’s youngest drivers should be aware that our state has a zero tolerance law in effect for them. It’s against the law for anyone under age 21 to have any alcohol in their system while they are “in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.”

That means it is possible for a police officer to charge an under-21 person for a misdemeanor DUI while the person is behind the wheel of a parked, turned off vehicle.

Of course, it’s also true that a DUI arrest can take place under similar circumstances for a driver age 21 or over (they can also be arrested in either a moving or parked car). One difference is that the older driver can legally have a blood-alcohol concentration of up to 0.08 percent, while the under-21 driver can face arrest with any level of alcohol in their body.

It should be noted, however, that an over-21 driver can be cited for “driving under the influence/impaired to the slightest degree,” even if their BAC is below 0.08 percent, if it’s determined that the person is driving while impaired.

As you can see, DUI laws are complex, which is why it makes so much sense to talk to an experienced defense attorney if you face a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Source: Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, “Arizona DUI Laws,” February 2014