Building A Defense Against Underage DUI Charges
Even a single drink can subject someone who is under 21 to punishment under the California DUI zero tolerance law (V.C. 23136). Zero tolerance means the mere fact of having consumed ANY measurable amount of alcohol before driving constitutes an offense. Absurdly, an under 21 driver can violate this provision simply by drinking cough syrup prior to driving.
If you are underage and stopped by a police officer with a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of 0.01% or greater, you face a mandatory one year license suspension and two points on your DMV driving record. Violation of this provision is considered a civil offense. If the accused is under 18 years old at the time of driving the minor’s case will be heard in juvenile court. If the driver is 18 years or older at the time of driving the driver’s case will be heard in superior court.
A driver who is under 21 and is stopped by a police officer faces even more severe penalties if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is between 0.05%-0.07%. The violation of this provision is no longer treated as a civil offense but instead constitutes a criminal infraction (V.C. 23140), which also carries a punishment of a fine and two points on one’s DMV driving record.
A driver under the age of 21 is also subject to the same DUI provisions that apply to those over 21. Under California DUI law, an under 21 driver may be convicted of a misdemeanor if the driver is either driving under the influence of alcohol (V.C. 23152 (a)), which is sometime called “generic DUI” or is driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.8% or higher (V.C. 23152 (b)), which is sometimes called a “per se DUI.” Some prosecutors will try to charge a driver who is under 21 with violating all three laws (i.e. civil, infraction and misdemeanor).
If you are under 21 and accused of driving with any amount of alcohol in your blood, you should contact San Francisco, Bay Area DUI attorneys, Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law. Experienced Redwood City and Oakland DUI attorneys Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, will challenge the charges of driving with alcohol in one’s blood on various legal and factual grounds.
It is important to remember that although our youth may deserve the most protection under the law that sometimes their rights are the most easily disregarded or violated. At Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, we will fight the system at every step to protect your minor’s rights and to keep their record clean. Contact us today so that we can discuss how we can be of assistance in your under 21 or juvenile DUI defense.