Wondering if you can get charged for driving under the influence (DUI) at 18 in California? You may face DUI charges, no matter how old you are in our state. In fact, individuals under 18 may face stricter laws regarding DUIs.
Use this article to consider the charges you could face for a DUI while under 21. Review penalties for DUI charges in California. Go over your options to handle a DUI charge if you are 18.
California’s “Zero Tolerance” Laws for Under-21 Drivers
Drivers under the age of 21 are not legally allowed to drink alcohol. The state has zero-tolerance laws on the books for these drivers. You may face legal repercussions if caught operating a vehicle with even 0.01% blood alcohol content (BAC).
The court uses Vehicle Code Section 23136 to handle some DUIs for drivers under 21. A conviction under VC 23136 may result in the suspension of your driver’s license. This suspension may last for up to one year. However, this only applies to a first-time VC 23136 violation.
Drivers arrested for another VC 23136 violation may face a longer license suspension. In some cases, the suspension could last for three years.
DUI Arrest for Higher BAC in California
VC 23136 is not used to prosecute all drivers accused of an under 21 DUI. You may face different charges depending upon your BAC. The state uses Vehicle Code Section 23140 for drivers:
- Under the age of 21.
- With a BAC between 0.05-0.07%.
You should know that 0.07% is still under the legal limit for drivers over 21 in California. However, all drivers under 21 must maintain a lower BAC. You face a one-year license suspension for a VC 23140 conviction. You may also pay fines of up to $100. Finally, a VC 23140 conviction requires you to attend an alcohol education program.
You May Face Adult DUI Charges at 18
Thus far, we’ve discussed special charges used to prosecute drivers under the age of 21 in California. However, you may face “standard” DUI charges even as an 18-year-old. The court may charge you with an “adult” DUI if your BAC exceeds 0.08%.
There are several charges used to prosecute drivers with a BAC at or above 0.08%. We’ll focus on misdemeanor charges, as these are the most common. You could face misdemeanor charges anytime your BAC is elevated. A conviction could result in:
- Thousands of dollars in fines.
- Jail time of up to six months.
- Use of an ignition interlock device (IID).
- A lengthy period of probation.
Additionally, all DUI charges in California are “priorable,” which means they stay on your driving record for 10 years. The penalties increase for all subsequent DUI charges you face. Make sure that you get help handling any DUI charge by contacting a law firm for help. Start getting legal advice by calling (310) 929-6503.
18-Year-Old Drivers and DUI Charges Involving Drugs
It is against the law in California to use a mind-altering substance and get behind the wheel. You may face DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) charges in California. These charges may apply if you are 18 or older at the time of your arrest.
The penalties for a DUID and DUI are similar. You may expect jail time, fines, and restrictions on your driving privileges. You should be aware that many chemical substances could result in DUID charges. Illicit drugs may cause you to drive erratically. Some prescription and over-the-counter medications also impact your ability to drive.
Get Help Handling a DUI Charge at 18
You don’t have to just accept a DUI charge at age 18. You may get legal help on your side by working with a DUI lawyer. Your lawyer may take steps to get your charges dismissed. Focus on reducing your charges to a more reasonable level.
Your lawyer could also help build a courtroom defense for you. Start getting help handling your unique situation right now. Contact a legal professional today.
Ask a Lawyer if You Can Get a DUI at 18
Can you get a DUI at 18? You may get a DUI anytime your BAC exceeds the legal limit. You may also get help regardless of your age. Focus on your defense by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Reach out to us easily for a free consultation. We may begin building your case today.
Find out more by completing our online contact form. You may also call (310) 929-6503.