Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. MY SON 17YO WAS ARESSTED FOR DUI WITH A BAC OF .084 IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS I HAVE SEEN 2 OTHER MALES ARESSTED FOR "MINOR OPERATING AFTER CONSUMING". MY QUESTION IS, WHAT IT THE DIFERANCE IN THESE 2 CHARGES? AT FIRST I THOUGHT MAYBE IF THEIR BAC WAS BELOW .080 THAT IT WOULD BE THE LATER CHARGE HOWEVER THIS CAN'T BE IT BECAUSE I KNOW ONE OF THE BOYS BAC WAS .160?
Dear Juneau Resident,
I am glad you brought up this issue because it is very confusing for many parents. The charge all comes down to the information gathered during the investigation and is not based on the results of the breath test. The breath test comes after the arrest. If there is enough evidence pre-arrest to show the crime of driving while intoxicated, that is the charge. A minor may have a BRAC over the limit but if the officer didn't have enough information gathered during the investigation to make that determination, the person is charged with minor operating after consuming.
Sometimes the environment helps the young person conceal just how impaired they were during the investigation. The weather might be terrible causing issues with the officer seeing or smelling subtle signs. Also, the more experienced a person is at drinking the better they tend to be at field sobriety tests and concealing other signs of impairment. Sometimes a young person is already in custody for something else, after having possibly run from a vehicle, so the officer has to make the call on the charge without field sobriety tests. For some reason, the officer investigating the second person (the one with a BRAC of .160) didn't have enough information to believe the driver was DUI so that driver got away with something. In the long run, that break may do more harm than good because that person may be more likely to do the same activity again. Hopefully your son has learned a hard lesson and will choose a different path next time.