The legal age to drink alcohol in California is 21. Individuals in Los Angeles can face serious legal repercussions if they consume alcohol before this age. The penalties can be exceptionally steep if an individual drinks alcohol and then gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
California Vehicle Code Section 23140: Under 21 DUI with Blood Alcohol Content Between 0.05-0.07 Percent is one of the legal codes used to prosecute drivers under 21 who drive under the influence (DUI). Drivers could also face charges under:
- California Vehicle Code Section 23136: Under 21 DUI with Any Measurable Amount of Alcohol
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b): Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08 Percent or Higher
The Simmrin Law Group can help you understand the differences between these charges and their legal consequences.
The Definition of VC 23140
VC 23140 is used to prosecute drivers under the age of 21 who are caught operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0.05-0.07. This means that their BAC would be close to the legal limit for drivers over the age of 21.
Police officers may measure an individual’s BAC at a traffic stop through the use of chemical tests. Note that drivers under the age of 21 must submit to any tests required by the police.
Examples of VC 23140 Violations
An 18-year-old has a drink while out with some friends, but does not feel impaired. He gets in his vehicle and begins driving home, swerving around on the road. A police officer pulls him over with probable cause and finds his BAC to be at 0.06. The driver is arrested under VC 23140.
A driver who turns 21 next month has a drink and then decides to go pick up dinner. She runs a red light on the way to the restaurant and is pulled over by a police officer. Her BAC is reported at 0.05, and she faces charges under VC 23140.
Penalties for Driver Under 21 with a BAC between 0.05-0.07 Percent
VC 23140 is a harsher charge than VC 23136: Under 21 with Any Measurable Amount of Alcohol. Drivers charged under VC 23136 may have their license suspended for a year. A conviction under VC 23140, on the other hand, can lead to:
- A Year Long License Suspension
- Fines of Up to $100
Drivers also have to take part in an alcohol education class after a conviction for VC 23140. The fines for violations of VC 23140 will increase each time an individual is charged with this act. Despite these penalties, VC 23140 is only considered an infraction by the court.
Drivers under 21 with a BAC at 0.08 or above may face harsher misdemeanor charges for driving under the influence.
Note that – as with any DUI charge – a driver charged under VC 23140 will need to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Drivers have only 10 days after an arrest to ask for this hearing. Failing to request a hearing results in an automatic license suspension.
Defenses for VC 23140 Charges
Drivers under 21 who are arrested for having small amounts of alcohol in their system do have legal options. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to build a defense by proving that a police officer conducted a DUI stop without probable cause. Evidence against a driver can be suppressed if a traffic stop is not conducted legitimately.
A lawyer may also be able to block chemical test results. Breathalyzers and PAS devices do not have a perfect record for accuracy. These flaws mean that the machines sometimes return inaccurate results that can be disputed in court.
Help Dealing with VC 23140 Charges
Drivers charged under California Vehicle Code Section 23140: Under 21 DUI with Blood Alcohol Content Between 0.05-0.07 Percent do not have to face these accusations alone. The Simmrin Law Group offers a FREE initial case evaluation for all DUI cases. Find out more about your options by calling (310) 997- 4688 or completing our online contact form.