Can you get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) at 18 in Los Angeles, California? You may face DUI charges anytime you operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level over the legal limit. It does not matter how old you are; you can still face DUI charges.
In fact, it’s easier to get a DUI if you are under the age of 21. California uses different BAC levels for drivers younger than 21. Find out more about the DUI charges used in California and the penalties for an under 21 DUI conviction, as well as some possible DUI defenses, right here.
California’s “Zero Tolerance” Law for Under 21 Drivers
Technically, individuals under the age of 21 are not supposed to drink alcohol in California. Consuming alcohol under the age of 21 is against the law. California has “zero tolerance” laws in effect for individuals who drink while underage.
You may face one of these zero-tolerance laws if you are stopped for a DUI at 18. You can face charges if your BAC is at or above 0.01%. This means you could get a ticket after a single drink of alcohol. Sometimes, substances like mouthwash are enough to get your BAC over the legal limit.
Zero tolerance DUIs are handled under Vehicle Code Section 23136. You may face the suspension of your driver’s license if you are convicted of a VC 23136 violation in California.
Additional Charges for Underage DUIs in California
The court system uses other special charges for drivers under the age of 21 charged with a DUI. Let’s say that your BAC registers as above 0.05%. In this situation, you may face charges under Vehicle Code Section (VC) 23140. VC 23140 convictions come with more serious results. If you are convicted of this offense, you may face:
- Fines of up to $100
- License restriction
- Time in an alcohol education program
A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to help you handle these charges. Your lawyer can begin working on your defense right now. Find out more about how we could help by calling us at (310) 896-2724.
“Standard” DUI Charges and Drivers Under 21
It’s important that you understand that you can face “standard” – or adult – charges for a DUI even if you are only 18. Generally, the court will charge you with a standard DUI if your BAC exceeds the adult legal limit. Drivers over 21 are expected to keep their BAC level under 0.08%.
You may face criminal charges under Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) if your BAC is at or above 0.08% in California. A conviction under VC 23152(a) may lead to:
- Fines of thousands of dollars
- Jail time of up to six months
- Restrictions on your driving privileges
- Time in an alcohol education program
A DUI conviction stays on your criminal and driving records in Los Angeles. Each time you are convicted of a subsequent DUI, you face harsher penalties. You may even end up facing felony charges if you are convicted of enough DUIs within a 10-year period. It’s therefore very important that you take all DUI charges in California seriously.
Get Legal Help for a DUI at 18 in California
You have legal options if you were arrested for a DUI at 18. A DUI lawyer may step in to work on your defense right away. Your lawyer may take steps to block evidence against you. For example, a lawyer could work to show that a police officer stopped you without reasonable cause.
Your lawyer could also dispute the accuracy of any BAC tests you took. These tests may not return accurate results if police officers perform them incorrectly. Police officers may also wait too long to perform a BAC test, leading to incorrect results.
You may also want to inform a lawyer if you used mouthwash or ate food containing alcohol before you drove. This could artificially inflate your BAC, making it appear that you were driving under the influence. Work with a lawyer to build a defense and perhaps get your charges reduced.
If You Get a DUI at 18, Speak to an Attorney Today
You can get a DUI at 18 in California. You might get a DUI if your BAC is at or above 0.01%. Fortunately, a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to step in to help you handle these charges. You can reach out to a lawyer by calling (310) 896-2724. You can also complete our online contact form to discuss your case.
We offer a FREE consultation about your legal options if you were accused of a DUI at 18.