California takes an aggressive approach when it comes to minors who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Even a first-time conviction for a DUI under 21 can result in severe consequences that may impact your life for years to come.
At the Law Office of Mark Greany, we represent clients facing underage DUI offenses in California.
Our San Diego DUI attorney has extensive experience developing creative solutions to these complex cases. With our help, you can rest assured that your case—and your future—are in good hands.
Types of Underage DUI in California
In California, there are a few DUI laws that apply to minors under the age of 21. Generally, because minors are not legally allowed to consume alcohol, the law holds them to a higher standard.
So if the police pull you over and determine you are underage and under the influence of alcohol, you may be charged under any of the following theories.
California’s Zero-Tolerance Law
California Vehicle Code section 23136 provides that no driver under the age of 21 can legally drive a vehicle if they have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .01% or more.
However, a violation of this section is a civil offense, not a crime.
So if you’re charged under the zero-tolerance law, you likely won’t face any criminal consequences. But keep in mind that this violation can result in a one-year administrative driver’s license suspension.
Driving with a BAC of .05% or More
While a very low BAC does not result in criminal charges, that is not the case if your BAC is above 05%. California Vehicle Code section 23140 makes it against the law to drive with a BAC of .05% or greater.
Unlike section 23136, a violation of 23140 is an infraction. While infractions do not call for jail time, a conviction results in a license suspension, a fine, and potentially mandatory alcohol counseling.
Adult DUI Laws
The above two offenses can only be committed by minors because it is not against the law for an adult to drive with a BAC of less than .08%. However, if your BAC is greater than .08%, you can face adult DUI charges.
The punishment for a DUI in California depends on your BAC, whether anyone was hurt, and whether you have any prior convictions for driving under the influence.
Can You Face Multiple Charges Related to an Under 21 DUI in California?
Under state law, the government may charge you with more than one offense, but you can only be convicted of one crime. The only exception involves the state’s zero-tolerance law, which is not a criminal offense.
So the police could cite you for a civil violation under section 23146 and also pursue criminal charges under section 23140, for example.
In addition, anyone who is charged with DUI under 21 can face a variety of related offenses. For example, prosecutors may also charge you with having marijuana or an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
Are You Facing an Underage DUI Offense?
If you were arrested for an underage DUI, California criminal defense attorney Mark Greany can help. At the Law Offices of Mark Greany, we have extensive experience defending the rights of clients who face underage DUI offenses.
We can help you keep your license and avoid the fines and other consequences of a conviction. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a San Diego underage DUI defense attorney, call 858-531-6387 today.
You can also reach the Law Office of Mark Greaney through our online contact form.