Driving while under the influence of alcohol is against the law in California. However, if you are under the legal drinking age of 21 and convicted on drunk driving charges it can be complete disaster with significant penalties.
California has some of the harshest DUI laws in the country and the state’s underage drunk driving is a zero tolerance policy. If you are above the legal drinking age, your blood alcohol content needs to be only 0.08% or higher for a drunk driving arrest. For an under aged driver, driving with as little as 0.01% blood alcohol content (BAC) can result in a DUI and serious consequences. Although it is best not to drink and drive, you may find yourself in a situation that you should not be in or don’t deserve to be in. In these circumstances, it is best to immediately hire an experienced Fresno drunk driving attorney to help you protect your legal rights.
California Penalties for an Underage Age DUI Conviction: Zero Tolerance Laws
Underage motorists who are detained and/or arrested for drunk driving under California’s Zero Tolerance laws of the 1994 Admin Per Se (APS) program, are subject to the revocation or suspension of their driving privileges if they:
Take a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS); and
Have a BAC greater than 0.01%; OR
Refuse to take or fail to complete the PAS or other chemical test
Under the provisions of the state’s Zero Tolerance laws, motorists under the age of 21 who are pulled over for a suspected DUI are deemed to consent to a PAS or other type of breath, urine or blood test. If the young individual fails to comply with the test, he or she can still be prosecuted by the state and have his or her license suspended.
Particularly, the harshest penalty for underage drivers is the suspension of their driving privileges. A California conviction of drunk driving for an underage motorist will result in the individual’s license suspended for one year if it is a first offense. If the motorist has also violated other certain sections of the California Vehicle Code or he or she has refused to submit to a chemical test, the suspension can last for two or three years.
Additional Penalties That May Apply
In addition to the penalties discussed above, penalties may apply in situations involving underage drivers and alcohol, such as using a fake ID to obtain alcohol or riding as a passenger in the car that possess alcoholic beverages. These additional offenses may be charged separately or be compounded with the DUI charge and result in even harsher consequences.
It is important to note that law enforcement must follow certain procedures for the legal arrest and detention in an underage DUI. A knowledgeable Fresno DUI lawyer can help you determine if there is a possible misstep in the procedure that may be a defense to lower the charges penalties of an underage DUI or even the dismissal of the charges altogether.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Fresno drunk driving attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 3235558 or (559) 4491447, or complete our online form.