Underage DUI Arrest in California

California has a Zero Tolerance Policy when it comes to underage DUI; and they also have some of the harshest penalties. This Zero Tolerance Policy states that any driver under the age of 21 (legal drinking age) with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .01% or more will be charged with Underage DUI. If their BAC is at least .05% or higher, they may also be charged with a regular DUI and could be arrested.

For most people, drinking only one alcoholic drink (beer, shot or cocktail) will give them a BAC of .01% or higher. For some people, this ‘small’ amount of alcohol could put them close to .05%. There are no compulsory penalties for drivers who are under the age of 18. That changes if the driver is at least 18 and his BAC is .05% or higher.

Underage DUI Penalties

The first penalty for an underage DUI will be the loss of his driver’s license for at least one year. That suspension could be extended for multiple years if there are subsequent violations.

Under some conditions, the judge may seize the minor’s vehicle and even sell it at the expense of the owner. In addition to the license suspension and possible impounding of the vehicle, the underage driver charged with DUI will face fines and fees of at least $1,000. The judge may also include special driving safety classes or substance abuse treatment in the sentence.

If the underage driver refuses to submit to chemical testing, he will automatically lose his license for one year. If there is a second refusal within a ten year period, the penalties increase in severity, especially at the DMV.

As with a regular DUI, those charged with an underage DUI must face two separate hearings: the criminal court and the DMV. The criminal court will impose the fines, jail, treatment programs and driver classes. The DMV handles the suspension of the driver’s license. Both of these hearings need to have the proper paperwork filed within deadlines and court procedures followed. This is where an experienced DUI attorney could provide invaluable judgment and advice.

Other Unforeseen Consequences after an underage California DUI Conviction

Individuals who have an underage DUI conviction on their record must report it on any college applications, financial aid applications, and/or career applications. This could affect whether they gain acceptance into the University; and in some situations, the school could accept them under certain conditions that other students without a conviction are not subject to.

If you choose to not list the conviction on your applications and it is discovered later, you are subject to immediate discharge from the University and/or your job and you could be prosecuted for perjury.

Other Underage DUI Situations

* An underage driver who has been drinking and causes injury to another person could be put in prison for up to one year for each injured person.

* Any underage person who buys, tries to buy or drinks an alcoholic beverage must pay a $250 fine and perform at least 24 hours of community service. They could also have their license suspended for one year.

* A minor who possesses alcohol in public will receive a $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail. They will also have their license suspended for one year.

As you can see, California takes underage drinking and driving very seriously. If you find yourself charged with underage DUI, contact an experienced DUI attorney to help you minimize the penalties and effects it could have on your future.

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Beth

Beth L. is a content developer for LeadRival, a cutting edge company that helps connect DUI lawyers with DUI clients. Beth L. writes about a variety of DUI topics to help drivers who have been arrested for DUI, getting them the legal help they need.

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