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Understanding California drunk driving laws for those under 21

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2022 | Drunk Driving |

In Orange County and throughout California, people are undoubtedly aware of the potential legal and personal challenges that accompany a charge of driving under the influence (DUI). A conviction can result in a person getting their driver’s license suspended, fines and jail time.

Increased insurance rates and personal obstacles can also affect certain job prospects. For those under 21, the laws are stricter and knowing how to avoid the worst penalties is a priority.

California has a “Zero Tolerance” policy with drivers under 21

People must be 21 to consume alcohol in California. Since they are not legally allowed to drink, the criteria for a DUI charge are far less than they are for someone 21 and older.

The Golden State has a “Zero Tolerance” policy. When accused of a DUI under 21, there is an Administrative Per Se (APS) penalty where the driver’s license can be suspended or revoked immediately.

People might understand the blood-alcohol concentration rules in which a person is generally considered to be intoxicated if they register 0.08% BAC. For those under 21, it is 0.01%.

There can also be a suspension or revocation if the driver refuses to submit to the test. At the immediate suspension or revocation, the driver will be given a temporary license that is valid for 30 days. After that, the license will be revoked or suspended.

If it is a first offense, the license is suspended for 1 year. A second offense within 10 years will result in a revocation for 2 years. If there are three or more offenses within 10 years, it will be revoked for 3 years.

Drivers facing Zero Tolerance allegations do have options

To fight DUI charges, the driver can request a hearing. If the officer did not have a justifiable reason to conduct the investigation, this could be an effective defense. The detention must have been done lawfully.

If the suspension or revocation was due to refusal, the officer is required to have told the driver they needed to comply or would face the loss of driving privileges.

There are other strategies that might be beneficial, including a medical explanation as to why the driver appeared to have been under the influence or a flaw with the testing procedure.

With the summer just beginning and people on beaches, at parties and other events, it is possible that younger people might find themselves facing drunk driving allegations. Knowing the law and crafting a strong defense requires experienced and aggressive legal help.