Law Office of James Mendez Underage DUI

Underage DUI in California

Under 21 and Arrested for DUI?

In California it is illegal for drivers age 21 and older to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. For drivers below the age of 21, under California's zero tolerance law, if their BAC registers .01% or higher in a hand-held breath test or another chemical test, the officer can take their driver's license away and issue a temporary driver's license that is good for 30 days, give the underage driver an order of suspension for one year, and determine whether to release the underage driver to juvenile authorities, or to contact a parent or guardian.

If your BAC registers at .05% or higher, the police can arrest you and detain you until you can be turned over to your parents, a guardian, or juvenile authorities. If the officer suspects that you are under the influence of both alcohol and drugs and you have already submitted to a breath test or Preliminary Alcohol Screening, you may be required to submit to a blood or urine test since a breath test cannot detect the presence of drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, and LSD etc.

If you refuse to submit to any of these tests, your driver's license is subject to an automatic suspension, even if you weren't drinking and driving at all.

Please note that after an arrest for an underage DUI, you have the opportunity to request a DMV administration hearing within 10 days.

Penalties for an Underage DUI

If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both, you may be subject to:

  • Enrollment in a DUI program
  • File a California Insurance Proof Certificate (SR-22)
  • Install an Ignition Interlock Device IID
  • One year driver's license suspension (first offense)
  • License revoked for two years on second offense within 10 years

Merely being under the age of 21 subjects you to California's "zero tolerance law." Even if you have just one drink and drive, you can be found guilty and convicted of DUI. Unlike a typical DUI where the state needs to prove that the driver had a BAC of .08% or was "under the influence" of alcohol, the only thing the prosecutor has to prove is that you consumed any measurable amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

In addition to the above penalties, a judge can order that you participate in a "Youthful Drunk Driving Visitation Program," which is intended to serve as a condition of probation or an alternative sentence. This program consists of visiting an emergency room and the Department of Corner.

Contact a Downey DUI Attorney for Help!

If you were arrested for an underage DUI or if your son or daughter was, you are urged to contact a Downey DUI attorney from the Law Office of James Mendez. As a former Deputy District Attorney, attorney Mendez is well-versed in all applicable defenses and methods available for getting your DUI charges reduced if not dropped. 

Call the firm today for the aggressive legal representation you need at (562) 923-4946. The firm takes calls 24/7 and offers legal services in both English and Spanish.

Law Office of James Mendez

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Law Office of James Mendez

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