One of the most terrifying moments in a parent’s life is getting a phone call in the middle of the night and finding out that your child has been arrested for a DUI. Not only are you worried about how your son or daughter is doing, but you are also concerned about the potential consequences they face if he/she is convicted.
The criminal penalties for a DUI committed by an underage driver depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. The following is an overview of California’s drunk driving laws that apply to motorists under 21 years of age.
Zero Tolerance Law
Since anyone under 21 years old is prohibited from consuming, possessing, and purchasing alcohol, an underage motorist with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .01 percent can be charged for a “zero-tolerance DUI,” which is an infraction. A conviction is punishable by a maximum fine of $250 and driver’s license suspension for at least one year.
If an underage driver’s BAC is at least .05 percent, he/she will be charged with “underage DUI,” which is also an infraction. A conviction carries a fine between $100 and $300 and a license suspension for one year. Additionally, drivers who are at least 18 years of age must also complete DUI school in order to reinstate their license.
If an underage driver’s BAC is at least .08 percent, he/she will be charged with a standard DUI like adult drivers. A standard DUI is a misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence ranging from 48 hours to six months, a fine between $390 and $1,000, driver’s license suspension, and DUI school.
Furthermore, a DUI conviction remains on the younger person’s criminal record, which can negatively affect his/her career, education, and opportunities in life.
If you or your child has been arrested for a DUI in Elk Grove or within the surrounding area, call Samra Dhillon & Associates at (916) 571-1550 or fill out our online contact form today to request a free case evaluation. Providing criminal defense services to clients in Greater Sacramento and Bay Area!