What to Do After an Underage Drunk Driving Charge
California is a “zero tolerance” state when it comes to underage drinking and driving, meaning that a blood alcohol content (BAC) of even 0.01 percent is enough to get a driver under 21 in trouble with the law. If your child has been arrested and charged with underage drinking and driving, or driving under the influence (DUI) as a juvenile, he or she may face a civil offense, an infraction, and/or a misdemeanor, the penalties of which can add up and adversely affect his or her future. Get in touch with an attorney who has experience dealing with juvenile DUI cases.
David A. Stein and his legal associates understand how important it is to preserve all the opportunities you can for your child. We will fight aggressively in court to make sure your child’s criminal charge does not impede on his or her future. You can discuss your child’s DUI case with us in a free, discreet consultation and learn more about the legal options available by calling (949) 445-0040.
Juvenile DUI as a Civil Offense
An underage driver who records a BAC of 0.01 percent or greater is subject to penalties under California’s “zero tolerance” law, a civil offense as defined by California Vehicle Code section 23136 VC. These penalties include an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension, or a one-year delay of driving privileges if the offending individual has not attained their driver’s license yet.
According to the “zero tolerance” policy, underage drivers do not have to be affected by the alcohol in their system, or “under the influence,” in order to be penalized. The very presence of blood in their alcohol is enough to warrant an offense.
Juvenile DUI as an Infraction
If an underage driver records a BAC of 0.05-0.07 percent, he or she may be met with an infraction under California Vehicle Code section 23140 VC. Although an infraction does not come with a potential jail or prison sentence, it does come with significant fines. A first conviction carries a $100 penalty; a second conviction within a one-year period induces a $200 penalty; and a third conviction within a one-year period carries a $300 penalty.
A minor convicted of this infraction usually faces the penalties associated with the civil offense in addition to the fines.
Juvenile DUI as a Misdemeanor
California Vehicle Code section 23152 VC applies to everyone, even minors under 21. If an individual is caught driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater, he or she is may face a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence (DUI) and significant penalties, no matter what age. The sentencing guidelines are as follows:
- Up to one year in a county jail,
- Up to $1,000 in fines,
- Three to five years of informal probation,
- A mandatory alcohol class, and
- A six-month driver’s license suspension.
Additional penalties from a separate charge of “possession of alcohol in a car” may be incurred if alcohol was present within the vehicle at the time of arrest.
Get in Touch with a California DUI Defense Lawyer
If you have any specific inquiries regarding your child’s specific DUI case, please call our toll-free number at (949) 445-0040.