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California Minors and drunk driving

California Minors arrested for Drunk Driving

  Recently states have implemented more severe drunk driving laws for minors. Although in many states a driver may be able to legally operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration up to 0.08%, underage drivers or minors in the state of California are unable to legally driver if the blood alcohol content level is 0.01%. These laws are called “zero tolerance” laws and it means that if a minor consumes as little as one beer or one class of wine, the driver can face a one year license suspension by the California Department of Motorized Vehicles (or a one delay in getting their driver’s license). Minors who refuse to the blood alcohol content test at the time of their arrest may face additional penalties such as a driver’s license suspension of one to three years. Although this is not considered a criminal offense, this civil offense is illegal under California Vehicle Code 23136. At the time of the California DUI arrest, the California driver’s license is confiscated by the police officer, and the driver has a 10 days to request an Administrative Hearing. At the Administrative hearing the minor has the option to hire a drunk driving attorney to represent them. Minors may also have witnesses attend the hearing, testify on their own behalf and cross-examine witnesses for the state.

Minor Drivers in California with Blood Alcohol Content of 0.05% to 0.08%

  Minor drivers arrested with a blood alcohol content level of 0.05% or higher face a misdemeanor drunk driving charge. Penalties become increasingly severe with every subsequent drunk driving arrest. For a first arrest the driver faces the following drunk driving penalties:
  1. Fines and penalties of $100
Plus the following civil penalties (for violating California’s zero tolerance laws):
  1. One year license suspension
  2. Mandatory attendance in a 3 month alcohol program prior to license reinstatement
  3. Possible participation in a youth drunk driving program which can include visiting the emergency room, an alcohol recovery center, talking to and visiting with the coroner and potentially interacting with victims of drunk driving accidents.
  4. Additionally, a judge will expect the minor to abstain from further use of illegal drugs or alcohol

Minor Drivers in California with Blood Alcohol Content of greater than 0.08%

  Minor drivers who are arrested with a blood alcohol content level above the illegal limit of 0.08% will be convicted of a California drunk driving charge. This blood alcohol content level is the illegal limit for all drivers, not just those who are over 21 years of age. If a minor is convicted of a misdemeanor drunk driving charge in California there are serious drunk driving penalties.

Penalties for minors convicted of a California drunk driving charge include:

  1. 3 to 5 years informal probation
  2. Six month license suspension
  3. Up to one year in jail
  4. Up to $1,000 in fines
  5. Alcohol education course

Hiring a Drunk Driving Lawyer

  If you have been arrested for drunk driving and you are a minor, this can be extremely serious. Do not wait to talk to someone about your drunk driving charges, especially if your blood alcohol concentration levels were above 0.08%.
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