In California, a minor (20 or under) is not allowed to have any measurable amount of alcohol in his or her blood (that is, so much as even .01% under California Vehicle Section 23136). If (s)he is found guilty of violating this vehicle code section, the minor faces an automatic one-year suspension of his or her driver’s license. If the minor does not yet have a California driver’s license, the DMV will issue a one-year delay of the minor’s eligibility to lawfully drive.
The California Vehicle Code allows for no slack or leeway in the alcohol content of an underage driver. Where a person 21 or over will not violate DUI laws (that is, California Vehicle Section 23152(b)) if he or she drives with a blood alcohol content of .07 or lower, a minor (20 or under) is not allowed to have any measurable amount of alcohol in his or her blood (that is, so much as even .01% under California Vehicle Section 23136
If the (s)he is found guilty of violating this vehicle code section, the minor faces an automatic one-year suspension of his or her driver’s license. If the minor does not yet have a California driver’s license, the DMV will issue a one-year delay of the minor’s eligibility to lawfully drive.
If the minor refuses to submit to a chemical test, he or she faces a suspension from one to three years. The length of the suspension is based on whether the minor has had prior convictions under this California zero-tolerance law.
Be mindful that this vehicle code section is enforced civilly, not criminally. In other words, there is technically no jail time for this particular offense alone; however, the minor’s California driving privilege may be severely impacted.
Additionally, the prosecutor will charge the minor under California Vehicle Code sections 23152(a): Driving while under the influence of alcohol and 23152(b): Driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. A first-offense conviction for DUI can result in significant fines, lengthy probation, lengthy alcohol program, license suspension and more.
An additional charge you or your loved one may face as a result of prosecution for underage DUI includes California Vehicle Code 23140 VC, commonly known as DUI under 21 with a BAC of .05%–.07%. Although this particular offense is an infraction, it is yet another charge with which to contend.
If you or your loved one have been charged with the above offenses pursuant to a DUI under 21 prosecution, you or your loved one may be facing the loss of your California driver’s license for one year and other very costly and burdensome consequences.
Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, has expert and experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers with over 60 combined years of experience defending persons accused of underage DUI.
Robert Ernenwein is a former Los Angeles deputy district attorney and is certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. He has been selected for inclusion in California Super Lawyers for several years and has appeared as a legal analyst on multiple cable news programs, including Fox News.
The experience and capabilities that the attorneys at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, will bring to your underage DUI defense are unmatched.
For older drivers, it is illegal to drive with a certain blood alcohol level (.08), giving them some leniency to have one or two drinks before hitting the road. The same does not apply to younger drivers.
If you are under 21, is unlawful to drive with even trace amounts of alcohol in your blood, and a reading of even .01 will yield a California Under 21 DUI arrest. Higher levels will yield more serious charges, no matter your exact age.
The punishments for a California Under 21 DUI conviction can be severe. They may include:
If someone under 21 is pulled over with a higher blood alcohol level, .08 or more, or causes an accident while intoxicated that injures or even kills another person, the punishments are much more severe. You may face time in prison, a revoked license and more.
Whatever the charges against you or your child, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. The best way to fight charges against you is to meet them head-on, using hard evidence and expert testimony to prove your innocence and clean up your criminal record.
For more information about your legal rights in these cases, or if your child faces strict punishments in one of these cases, you need to speak with an attorney at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, as soon as possible.
Unlike the laws for older drivers, the California DUI regulations for those under the age of 21 form a “zero-tolerance” policy. This policy leads to strict punishments if you or your children get caught.
There are numerous laws regarding DUI charges against persons under the age of 21. The first, California Vehicle Section 23152(b), stipulates that any amount of traceable alcohol for these drivers is unacceptable. This can be as little as .01%, which would be legal for older drivers.
If any alcohol is found in the system of an underage individual, he or she faces a mandatory license suspension of one year. If the individual does not even have a license yet, he or she will receive the punishment of waiting longer to obtain one, especially if the individual refuses to comply when asked to take a chemical test.
If someone under the age of 21 is pulled over and found to be under the influence of alcohol, or over the .08 limit, he or she also faces normal DUI charges. If found to have a blood alcohol level of between .05 and .07, then the individual faces an intermediate charge reserved just for this situation.
If they are found guilty on either of these serious charges, younger drivers face serious forms of punishment. These may include but are not limited to fines, alcohol counseling, education courses and additional license suspensions.
Given the stakes involved in these cases and the punishments that may be in store, you need to act quickly to avoid conviction. You need to do so no matter who faces charges, whether it is you, a child of yours, or even family or friends.
Have you or someone you know been charged with DUI Under 21 or any other crime? Contact Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, Los Angeles and Orange County criminal defense lawyers today at 424-552-3901 for a free case review.