Driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is illegal in California, but the rules for minors operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol or other drugs are especially strict when compared to the .08 BAC that is allowed for adults over the age of 21.
The penalties for driving under the influence are severe no matter how old you are, and no matter your age or other circumstances, you will greatly benefit from the support of a DUI attorney in Los Angeles.
California has what is known as a “zero tolerance” policy for minors driving under the influence of alcohol, but in addition to this zero-tolerance policy, there are additional penalties and issues that you may be facing after being stopped and found to be driving with over a .01% BAC (under the zero-tolerance policy) or over .05% BAC for minor DUI laws. The two different issues may seem to overlap, but we will explain the difference below.
What is the California Zero Tolerance Policy for Minor Drunk Driving?
As mentioned above, there are penalties associated with a minor operating a motor vehicle with a BAC in excess of .01%, regardless of whether or not they are determined to be impaired by their alcohol consumption.
Under California’s Vehicular Code Section 23136, the penalty is an automatic one-year suspension of their driver’s license, although it is not technically considered a crime, and therefore does not go onto their criminal record.
If the minor is found driving a motor vehicle with a BAC of between .01% and .05% again before they turn 21, they will face another suspension that may be either 2 or 3 years depending on their history with these violations.
California Minor Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Charges
Separate from the zero-tolerance position of minors operating a vehicle in excess of a 0.01 BAC, you will also be charged with Minor DUI if you are in excess of a 0.05 BAC, as opposed to the legal limit of 0.08 for adults over the age of 21.
When you are found to be operating a vehicle in violation of this BAC limit, you will be forced to deal with the consequences of violating VC 23136, but will additionally need to face a criminal case where you will be subject to fines and mandatory alcohol education courses.
In addition to the BAC limitations for minors, there are other charges, and therefore other penalties, that you will be subject to. Since a BAC of 0.05 does not necessarily mean that the defendant was intoxicated, there are even more penalties for actually being intoxicated while driving, as well as increased penalties for operating over a 0.08 BAC — the legal limit for adults over the age of 21.
If you are charged with a DUI for violating “adult” BAC limits, you will be facing increased fines, extended alcohol education courses, and in some cases may be sentenced to up to 6 months in county jail.
Why Hire an Attorney?
As you can see from the brief list of violations and penalties that a minor faces for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol (and in some cases, even simply after consuming alcohol), there are a lot of things that need to be considered in court, and a variety of ways that the possible penalties can be reduced and the outcome can become more favorable.
It might seem easy enough to just show up to court, accept the charges, and move forward with your punishment, but this is never the right way to approach a criminal charge. Visit this website for more information about defending a DUI charge in Los Angeles.