Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “My son is 20 years old and was arrested for DUI in California. I am wondering how big of a deal this is and what penalties California minors might face if charged with DUI.”
In 1984, The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed by the U.S. Congress. Under the new law, states were required to raise their drinking age to 21 or lose 10% of their federal highway funding. South Dakota and Wyoming were the last states to comply with the new law, with all states meeting the requirements by 1990. Currently, all U.S. states have a legal drinking age of 21.
California minor when can they be arrested for DUI?
California has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking. California minors may be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) if their blood alcohol concentration is above 0.01%. Like other drivers charged with DUI, California minors will face severe penalties and high fines if they are convicted for DUI.
Penalties and Fines for California Minors
California minors arrested for DUI may face 4 days to 6 months in jail, fines ranging from $1400 to $2600, mandatory alcohol and drug educational programs, and a license suspension of 30 days to 10 months. Drivers may also be required to participate in a Youthful Drunk Driving Visitation Program and be required to refrain from consuming alcohol.
Fines and penalties for minors whose blood alcohol concentration is above 0.08% are even more severe. California drivers who are arrested multiple times may face probation, an extended license suspension, and possible confiscation of their car.
What if I refuse to take a chemical test?
California has passed implied consent laws which require all California drivers to submit to a chemical test if they are arrested for DUI. California minors, like all other drivers, will face penalties if they refuse the test or they take the test and their BAC is above 0.01%.
California minors and additional alcohol-related charges
In addition to a DUI charge, California minors may be charged with various other alcohol-related charges. For example, California minors who attempt to distribute alcohol to other minors, who possess alcohol themselves, who use false identification to obtain alcohol, or who ask others to sell them alcohol can be charged with minor in possession, solicitation, child endangerment, or distribution to minors.
Other considerations for California Minors
Unfortunately, getting arrest for DUI as a minor can have lasting consequences, many of which the minor or their families do not consider before pleading guilty to the DUI charges. Not only can insurance rates sky-rocket as the minor is forced to buy high risk policies, but insurance companies may simply refuse to provide insurance coverage to offenders.
Additionally, DUI convictions may also have to be reported on job applications and college admissions forms. Although reporting the DUI may not exclude a California minor from admission or employment, it is a blemish on the child’s record that may follow them for years to come.
California minors may face severe fines and penalties if they are arrested, charged, and convicted for DUI.
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