According to a recent study, one out of 10 high school students in California have admitted to drinking and driving, while one in four have been in a car with another teen that was driving under the influence of alcohol.1

It is clear that teen drinking is a problem in California. That is why there are strict penalties for teen DUI.

Zero Tolerance for Teen DUI in California

Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b), it is illegal for any person to operate a vehicle when their blood-alcohol content level exceeds the legal limit of 0.08%. However, the laws are different for teen drivers.

That is because California has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking and driving. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23136, it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to drive while they have a BAC of 0.01% or higher. This means that persons under the age of 21 cannot have any measurable amount of alcohol in their system while driving.

Penalties for Teen DUI

A first-time DUI when you are 21 or older carries a sentence of up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, the suspension of your driver’s license for up to six months, and a mandatory alcohol education program. However, the penalties for underage DUI in California are different.

Under California Vehicle Code Section 23136, your driver’s license can be suspended for up to one year if you are convicted of underage DUI. If you do not yet have a license, your ability to obtain one could be suspended for one year.

It is also a separate crime for any person under the age of 21 to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.05% or higher under California Vehicle Code Section 23140. If you are convicted of this crime, you face:

  • A one-year suspension of your driver’s license;
  • A fine of $100; and
  • Mandatory enrollment and attendance of an alcohol education program of three months or longer (if over the age of 18).

Lastly, simply possessing alcohol if you are a minor is a crime under California Vehicle Code Section 23224. If convicted, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year, you will be fined up to $1,000, and your vehicle could be impounded for 30 days at your expense.

An underage DUI conviction could also impact your ability to find a job and get accepted into colleges or universities.

Contact the DUI Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

The penalties for a DUI conviction will follow you around for the rest of your life. But they don’t have to. If you hire an experienced DUI defense attorney, you may be able to obtain a favorable outcome in your DUI case. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending our clients facing DUI and underage DUI for more than 35 years. We have the knowledge and ability to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Torrance, Victorville and West Covina, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI defense attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

1. http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/west/2016/10/20/274364.htm href=”#ref1″>↩

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