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What BAC Do Underage Drivers Need to Be Charged With a DUI in California?

Drunk driving is a serious crime with correspondingly serious penalties, and this is even more so for underage drunk driving. While typically underage drivers face less severe punishments than adults, they also have stricter limits on their blood alcohol concentration BAC. And in some cases, underage offenders could face the same punishments as adults. This blog post will discuss DUIs and related crimes, as well as the BAC limits for underage drivers in California. If there’s a child in your family who is facing a DUI charge, you’ll want to call an experienced and compassionate Tehama County DUI lawyer to guide your family through this difficult situation.

What Crimes Similar to DUIs Does California Punish?

In California, DUI laws apply as much to alcohol as to illegal or prescription drugs. Regardless of your age, it is punishable by California law to drive after consuming excessive amounts of any of these.

You also don’t need to consume alcohol or drugs to be charged with a crime. Just the mere possession of alcohol or cannabis products in a vehicle may be illegal. You are not allowed to take these substances while driving, nor are your passengers allowed to take them while you drive. If you have alcohol or cannabis products, they need to be sealed in a container. If the products have been opened, then they must be either in the trunk or someplace where passengers aren’t sitting.

Finally note that if you are underage, you can still be convicted of an under the influence even without having a car. People ages 13 to 20 may be charged with operating a bicycle under the influence. If convicted, your driving privileges may be delayed for a full year once you’re allowed to get a driver’s license.

BAC Limits and Underage Drivers in California

The limit for someone’s BAC in California is 0.01% if the person is underage or of any age and on DUI probation. California has two laws that regulate underage driving, Vehicle Code 23136, which is the state’s zero-tolerance law, and Vehicle Code 23140, which applies to underage drivers with a BAC of 0.05% or more. For violations under Vehicle Codes 23136 and 23140, an underage driver may end up with a one-year suspension of their license even if the quality of their driving didn’t change at all with alcohol or drug consumption. And even if your BAC is under the legal limit, you can still be arrested with a chemical test. Refusing to take the test also has negative consequences, as the operator may have their diver’s license suspended for at least one year after a test refusal.

California has some of the toughest zero-tolerance drunk driving laws in the country. While many states make it a crime for a minor to have a BAC of 0.02%, in California the limit for minors is 0.01%. If their BAC is higher, they can expect ever-increasing penalties, up to being charged as adults. If you or your child is currently facing an underage DUI, you should strongly consider retaining the services of a competent attorney who can fight for the best outcome possible on your behalf. Contact Cohen Criminal Law today.