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What is an Underage DUI in California?

The state of California is a zero-tolerance state. It is illegal for anyone to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Doing so can result in significant consequences that can impact a person for the rest of their life. If a person is under the age of 21, it is illegal for them to consume alcohol in general, let alone operate a vehicle. If an underage driver is found under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can be charged with driving under the influence. Please continue reading and reach out to a dedicated Tehama County DUI lawyer from our firm to learn more about underage DUI charges and how we can help if you’re currently facing them. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What are the Penalties for an Underage DUI?

It is very dangerous to drive a vehicle under the influence. Doing so can result in serious accidents that cause severe injuries or even death to the driver as well as others on the road. If a driver is suspected of a DUI, law enforcement can pull them over on the road to administer a series of tests to determine their intoxication level. This can include a Breathalyzer or Alcotest to determine the individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If an underage driver has a BAC of 0.05% or above, they can be convicted for violating the state’s zero-tolerance law.

The penalties for an individual under the age of 21 driving under the influence can consist of the following:

  • For a BAC of .05%: A driver’s license suspension of one year, a $100 fine, and enrollment in an alcohol education program.
  • For a BAC of .08%: A driver’s license suspension, up to six months in jail, 3-5 years of misdemeanor probation, and enrollment in an alcohol education program.

You should also note that if you are found to have alcohol in your vehicle and are underage, you will face a driver’s license suspension of up to one year, a 30-day vehicle impoundment period, and a potential $1,000 fine.

Are there any other charges I may face?

It is important to know that an underage drunk driver can face additional charges under certain circumstances. The charges can include:

  • Minor in possession
  • Distribution of alcohol to minors (if there were other underage passengers)
  • Child endangerment
  • Possession of false identification (if a fake ID was used to purchase the alcohol)
  • Moving and vehicle maintenance violations

As you can tell, the various penalties you may face for an underage DUI conviction are severe, which is why the smartest thing you can do is retain the service of a seasoned DUI attorney as soon as you can. Cohen Criminal Law is here to help you today.