California’s Zero Tolerance Underage DUI Laws

Sun 17th November, 2019 Criminal Law

Getting arrested for driving under the influence as an adult can damage your personal and professional life, but in California, if you are arrested for DUI as a minor, the results can be even more devastating. California has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving underage, which is why if you or a loved one has been arrested under the suspicion of underage DUI, it is critical that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. To learn more about your legal options, call or contact the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler today.

Underage DUI Law

If a driver is 21 years old or older, they must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher in order to be arrested for driving under the influence. However, if the driver is under the age of 21 years old, their BAC only has to be 0.01% in order to be arrested for the same charge. This rule applies to alcohol and all other substances that may contain alcohol but are legal for minor consumption. One of the most common examples is medication that contains a low level of alcohol that a minor might consume without even realizing there is alcohol in it. In addition, it does not matter that an underage driver might not be impaired by the alcohol in their system. The zero tolerance policy makes it a crime simply to have a recognizable BAC and be behind the wheel.

Penalties for Underage DUI

The penalties for a conviction of underage DUI in California vary depending on the level of BAC at the time of the arrest. For minors with a BAC of 0.01 – 0.04%, the consequences include a mandatory one-year suspension of the driver’s license and a revocation of two or three years for additional convictions. If the driver is a minor and has a BAC between 0.05 – 0.07%, the charge is considered an infraction and comes with more serious penalties, including a one-year suspension of the driver’s license, a fine up to $100, and a mandatory alcohol education program.

The most serious penalties are for underage DUI that could also qualify as a normal DUI at legal age, 0.08% or higher. If no one is injured as a result of the DUI, the consequences include a one-year driver’s license suspension, three to five years of probation, fines up to $1,000, mandatory alcohol education program, and up to six months in jail. Additional penalties including mandatory jail time, more serious fines, and a permanent criminal record can apply if the DUI caused injury, vehicular manslaughter, or DUI murder.

Talk to Our Office Now

For immediate legal representation of an underage DUI case in the Beverly Hills area, call or contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler today or schedule a free consultation with an expert in DUI law to discuss your case.