You may face charges for driving under the influence (DUI) in California. However, the court may use different charges depending upon your age at the time of your arrest. What is considered a DUI for someone under the age of 21?
Technically, drivers under 21 may face DUI charges if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above 0.01% — well below the legal limit for drivers over 21. Find out more about the specific charges used for drivers under 21 right here.
Drivers Under 21 Cannot Legally Drink Alcohol
According to the state of California, it is against the law to consume alcohol if you are under 21. Drivers under 21 should not have a BAC at or above 0.01%. Even a single serving of alcohol could increase your BAC over this legal limit.
California has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking. You may face legal consequences, even if your BAC was incredibly low. Make sure you get legal help from a DUI lawyer in California in this situation.
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Charges for an Under 21 DUI in California
Drivers under 21 may face unique charges for a DUI. There are two primary charges used to prosecute under 21 DUIs. These charges include:
California Vehicle Code Section 23136
Prosecutors may use VC 236136 charges to prosecute you if your BAC is at or above 0.01%. As we mentioned, it does not take much alcohol to reach 0.01% BAC. A conviction under VC 23136 may result in the one-year suspension of your driver’s license. The length of the suspension may increase if you face a subsequent arrest.
California Vehicle Code Section 23140
VC 23136 is not the only charge used to prosecute under 21 DUIs in California. You may also face charges under VC 23140. This charge is applied if your BAC was between 0.05-0.07% at the time of your arrest. You may face a license suspension, fines, and time in an alcohol education program after a conviction.
Additional Charges for an Under 21 DUI in California
As you can see, the state of California uses some specific charges to prosecute under 21 DUIs. However, these are not the only charges used to handle a DUI by a driver under 21. You may also face “standard” DUI charges in California. The prosecution could charge you with the following code violations:
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b): Driving With A Blood Alcohol Content Of 0.08 Percent Or Higher
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(g): Driving Under the Combined Influence of Alcohol and Drugs
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f): Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Note that these are only examples of DUI charges used in the state of California. You might end up charged with a different crime if you were in an accident while driving under the influence. Charges for DUI causing injury or a DUI causing a fatality are often much harsher.
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Penalties for “Standard” DUI Charges in California
Under 21 DUI charges often lead only to small fines and the suspension of your driver’s license, but this is not the case with “standard” DUI charges. Drivers with a BAC at or above 0.08% may face these standard charges, regardless of age. A conviction for a misdemeanor DUI could result in:
- Fines of thousands of dollars.
- Jail time of up to six months.
- A period of probation.
- Time spent in DUI school.
- The use of an ignition interlock device (IID).
You may face a misdemeanor charge even if you are under 21. A DUI lawyer may help you take on these charges proactively. Your lawyer may work to construct a strong defense for you. In some cases, a lawyer may get your charges reduced or even dismissed. A lawyer may also stand up for you in front of a judge and jury. Get help handling DUI charges if you are under 21.
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Discuss What’s Considered a DUI for Someone Under 21
Drivers under 21 in California with a BAC at or above 0.01% are not permitted to operate a vehicle. Driving with a BAC above this level is considered a DUI. Find out more about under 21 DUI charges with the Simmrin Law Group. Reach out to us right now for help. You can complete our online contact form today.
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