In California, there are laws that make it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These laws apply to everyone who drives while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, there are additional DUI laws that apply specifically to people who drive under the influence of alcohol when they are under the legal age of 21. So, what happens when you are accused of DUI when you’re under 21?
Underage Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (VC 23136)
Under California Vehicle Code Section 23136, there is zero tolerance for drivers under the age of 21 when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. This law makes it illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to drink with any measurable amount of alcohol in his or her system.
A second law – California Vehicle Code Section 23140 – prohibits underage driving under the influence with a BAC that measures between 0.05% and 0.0799%. At BAC levels of 0.08% or higher, the standard DUI law under VC 23152(b) applies, regardless of your age.
The Difference Between Underage and Standard DUI
If you are stopped on suspicion of DUI while you are under 21, the experience you have may be much different than those who are legally able to drink. For instance,
- If you measured a BAC of 0.01%, the police may take your driver’s license and provide you with a 30-day temporary license. Authorities will then take you to your parent or guardian.
- If your BAC measured over 0.05%, your driving privilege could be immediately suspended and the police may hold you in custody until your parent or guardian picks you up.
- If your BAC was 0.08% or more, you could be arrested and charged with DUI.
What Punishment Can I Receive for Underage DUI?
Depending on your BAC level and whether you have been previously convicted of DUI, you could face some or all of the following penalties for underage DUI:
- Two points added to your driving record
- Suspension or revocation of your license
- Imprisonment in county jail for up to six months
- Mandatory enrollment and attendance of an alcohol education program of three months or longer
When you are charged with DUI, you not only have the criminal case to worry about, but also an administrative case with the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you are arrested for underage DUI, you must schedule a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest or your license could be suspended for six months. An experienced DUI attorney can help you schedule a DMV hearing and fight for you in an attempt to save your driving privileges.
Are There Other Charges I Could Face?
In addition to DUI when under 21, you could face minor in possession charges under VC 23224 if you’re arrested for drunk driving. A minor in possession conviction carries a sentence of up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000, plus a license suspension of up to one year.
Contact the DUI Defense Lawyers at Wallin & Klarich Today
An underage DUI could impact you for the rest of your life. That is why you should seek the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney if you are accused of underage DUI. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled DUI attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing DUI charges for over 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.