Underage DUI is a serious crime that can result in many consequences including fines, substance abuse counseling, and a suspended license. In addition to these penalties, underage DUI drivers are subject to an arrest or conviction on their record. This crime should be taken seriously. Hiring a DUI lawyer in Orange County is crucial to understand what you should expect.
An underage DUI occurs when a driver under the legal drinking age of 21 consumes any amount of alcohol that raises their BAC to 0.01% or above. The law doesn't consider whether the driver is impaired - this is a zero-tolerance law aimed at stopping people under 21 from drinking and driving.
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California's underage drinking laws are harsh. Underage drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol could face thousands of dollars in fines and jail time. Additionally, their licenses will be suspended for 12 months. Additional charges may be added depending on whether the defendant caused an accident where someone was injured or killed. The consequences of an underage DUI can be devastating, so it is important to know your legal options before making a decision on how to fight the charges.
Underage DUI is punishable in California under the Zero Tolerance law. An underage driver's blood alcohol level must be 0.00% to drive. If you have a BAC of 0.01% or higher, you are in violation of the state law. A refusal to take a breathalyzer test will result in an automatic license suspension. Because of legal principle called informed consent, you agree as a licensee to submit to a BAC test if there is probable cause for law enforcement to seek one.
If you've been arrested for underage driving, a defense attorney with experience handling DUIs can prove your innocence and fight for you. It could mean the difference between having a conviction on your record, or beginning your life with a clean record. Call the Johnson Criminal Law Group as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Consequences and Penalties for Underage DUI
The first offense of a juvenile DUI can result in a fine of up to $500 and up to 40 hours of community service. The defendant's driver's license will be suspended for one year. The offender will also have to complete an alcohol awareness course. A second offense of this crime may result in a year in jail and a three to five-year license suspension. The minor will likely have to take additional alcohol awareness courses, and possibly enter a treatment program.
But a criminal record and alcohol awareness courses aren't the only negative thing that might happen. You may also lose other privileges such as scholarships, grants, participation in your high school or college sports program, and a lot more. It's critical to hire a DUI lawyer who can help you navigate this significant life event so it doesn't set you back further.