When it comes to underage drinking and driving, the state of California has a "zero tolerance" policy. This means that if you are under 21 and are driving in California with even 0.01 percent of alcohol in your blood, it is illegal. As California has some of the toughest underage DUI laws in the nation, young people who are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol can face serious consequences. With this in mind, it is essential for a person charged with underage DUI to have a highly skilled and aggressive Santa Clarita DUI defense lawyer on his or her side. At The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann, our lawyers have the resources and knowledge necessary to obtain a successful underage DUI case outcome. The following web page will help to further explain how our law firm accomplishes this as well as the laws surrounding a California under 21 DUI.
California Underage DUI Law
California Vehicle Code 23136 (a) states: "Notwithstanding Sections 23152 and 23153, it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, to drive a vehicle." The law concludes that if a driver is under 21 years of age and suspected of driving under the influence, he or she is deemed to have consented to a preliminary alcohol screening test (PAS test) or other chemical test such as blood, alcohol, or urine tests in order to determine his or her blood alcohol content. Violation of California Vehicle Code 23136 (a) is a civil offense.
Underage DUI Penalties
A DUI conviction for a person under the age of 21 can have adverse effects on their future. For instance, a DUI conviction for those who are under the age of 18 or driving with a learner's permit could create a delay in getting a driver's license. The penalties for an underage DUI are enforced by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This means that an underage driver who faces these charges must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of the arrest in order to fight a license suspension.
Additional penalties an individual may face if convicted of underage DUI can include:
- confiscation of one's vehicle;
- license suspension of up to one year;
- paying fines in the thousands of dollars; or
- attending drug/alcohol abuse courses and driving safety classes.
If a person under 21 submits to a chemical test and his or her BAC is 0.01 percent or greater, the person faces a one-year driver's license suspension or a one-year delay in getting that driving privilege if he or she does not yet have a California driver's license.
Under 21 DUI Chemical Test Refusal
An underage driver who refuses to submit to a chemical test faces a 1- to 3- year driver's license suspension. The length of suspension depends on the number of prior convictions the defendant has under this “zero tolerance” law. Therefore, a first offense may result in a 1-year license suspension; a second offense within 10 years may result in a 2-year driver's license revocation; and a third or subsequent offense within 10 years may result in a 3-year driver's license revocation.
Effective Legal Strategies, Aggressive Representation
Developing an effective defense against underage DUI charges is essential in ensuring that a person's rights are protected and that their future isn't tarnished due to inaccurate charges. An experienced DUI defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann will aggressively represent an underage driver to ensure the best odds that the charges being held against them are reduced or dismissed. If you are facing under 21 DUI charges in California, please contact our law offices for a free consultation to better understand your legal rights and options.