Fighting Against Accusations of Under 21 Drinking and Driving
If you're under 21 years of age and you drive a vehicle after consuming alcohol, you could be cited under one of California's underage DUI laws. The statute that will apply to your situation depends on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the offense. And while jail time and a fine may be ordered, the more important battle is to save your driver’s license from being suspended for one year. Such consequences can have severe ramifications on your life, impacting your finances and making it challenging to take care of essential tasks.
However, although you might have been charged with an underage DUI offense, that does not mean you must suffer the consequences. You can fight to protect your driving privileges. The most effective way to challenge the accusations made against you is with the help of a seasoned attorney. At Koenig Law Office, our Bakersfield criminal defense lawyer can provide the legal representation you need throughout your case. Backed by extensive experience handling DUI matters, we know how to develop effective defenses to work toward avoiding a driver's license suspension.
We're ready to stand up for you. Schedule your free initial consultation by calling us at (661) 793-7222 today.
California's "Zero Tolerance" Law
Under California Vehicle Code 23136 VC, it is illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. The legal BAC limit is .01%. Basically, even having a sip of alcohol or taking medication that contains the substance can lead to an accusation of underage drinking and driving.
To determine the level of alcohol in your system, an officer will administer a preliminary alcohol screening test, or you will be subject to a chemical test. According to California's implied consent law, if you are lawfully detained for suspicion of underage DUI, you must participate in an alcohol-detection test. A refusal could mean the suspension of your driving privileges for up to 3 years.
Penalties for Violating the "Zero Tolerance" Law
If you are found guilty of underage DUI under the zero-tolerance law, you will face a driver's license suspension for up to 1 year. The penalty applies if you had a BAC of .01% or higher or if you refused a preliminary alcohol screening or chemical test.
California's Underage DUI Law
California has another law that prohibits anyone under 21 years of age to drive with alcohol in their system. The statute is California Vehicle Code 23140 VC, and it's an offense for an underage drinker to have a BAC of .05% or higher while they are operating a vehicle.
Penalties for Underage DUI
The penalties you could face for violating the underage DUI law in California include:
- Driver's license suspension for 1 year
- Fine of $100
- Custody time
- Alcohol education program (if you're at least 18 years of age)
Fighting to Keep Your Driving Privileges after an Underage DUI Offense
If you've been accused of an underage drunk driving offense, the officer who arrested or detained you will take your driver's license and issue a temporary one that's valid for 30 days. The information concerning your DUI case will be sent to the DMV for an administrative review. The department will examine the facts to decide whether to uphold the driver's license suspension.
To contest the suspension of your driving privileges, you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of receiving the suspension order. During the hearing, you may present evidence or testimony to support your assertion. The outcome will determine whether or not you are subject to a 1-year (or longer) driver's license suspension. If you do not win the hearing, you may request a department review.
Get Legal Help Immediately
If you've been cited with underage DUI in Bakersfield, Koenig Law Office is here to help fight back. Whether it's challenging the citation or contesting your driver's license suspension, our attorney will be by your side every step of the way.