Posted By : Alisha Wood | Date : 05-10-2016
Underage drinking will always be a prevalent issue in our communities, but with the large gap in age between a 16-year-old driver and the legal drinking age of 21, underage drinking often results in underage DUI charges. These situations are unfortunate, frustrating and very difficult, as California law has very little tolerance or sympathy for underage drinking and driving.
If you are under the age of 21 and drive with any measureable amount of alcohol in your system, you can be charged with underage drinking and driving. The level of alcohol will depend on how you are charged and which court you must appear before.
If you or someone you know has been charged with underage DUI, it is important that you know your rights and your consequences ahead of time.
What are the Consequences of Underage DUI?
Drinking and driving in California when you are under the age of 21 may result in a year-long license suspension. However, the consequences do not end there. Fines are typically standard, as well as mandatory DUI school, other alcohol related programs or work service, and potential probation under DUI monitoring and/or a sentence in county jail.
Depending on your blood alcohol level at the time of driving, and the Vehicle Code you are cited for, most of the time a DUI will show up on your public record. The various statues that govern DUI include:
- Driving under the age of 21 with a BAC of .01% or higher
- Driving under the age of 21 with a BAC of .05% or higher
- Driving at any age while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, with a BAC of .08% or higher
- Alcohol possession in a vehicle by a person under the age of 21
The Zero Tolerance Law
Under California law, if you are under the age of 21, or on DUI probation, you cannot drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system. If you are stopped, and fall under the two categories mentioned above, you are required to submit to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening breath test (PAS). If your blood alcohol level comes back at 0.01% or higher, you can be charged with one of the various DUI charges that have been outlined above. This may include a one-year license suspension through the DMV even if the case is charged as an infraction.
Defenses for Underage DUI
There are ways to defend yourself against DUI charges, but we always recommend trusting an experienced attorney with the defense. These cases can be difficult to maneuver on your own. The most common defenses used to deny these charges are the following:
- The officer’s traffic stop was unlawful, or he/she did not have probable cause to stop your vehicle. You may be able to use this argument if the officer said or did anything to violate your rights while you were stopped.
- Your arrest was carried out unlawfully, or without proper protocol or evidence.
- Mouthwash or medication affected your BAC
- The BAC testing equipment was faulty or you were in the margin of error for a BAC result that is acceptable
- The BAC testing did not follow protocol
- You were not driving the vehicle
Underage DUI can affect your entire future: including college and employment applications. If you or someone you know has been charged with an underage DUI, it is important to seek the help of professionals to fight these charges and better protect your future. The Law Offices of Alisha A. Wood has experienced attorneys who have proven success in helping fight DUI charges and keep your record protected. Call us today to learn more about we can help defend you: (619) 356-2249.