Want to know how California defines driving under the influence (DUI) for someone under the age of 21? Check out this article to learn more about under 21 DUI charges in the Los Angeles area. Technically, you may face DUI charges if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above 0.01% if you are under 21.
Get specific information about the charges used to prosecute under 21 DUIs with this article. Learn about the penalties for driving under the influence if you are under 21 and focus on your possible legal defenses.
California Has Zero Tolerance for Under 21 DUIs
Legally, you cannot consume alcohol until you reach the age of 21 in California. This means that you cannot drink any amount of alcohol and legally operate a vehicle until you’re over 21. California uses zero tolerance laws to prosecute DUI arrests for drivers under 21.
You may face charges under Vehicle Code 23136 if your BAC is between 0.01% and 0.04%. VC 23136 represents California’s zero tolerance law for underage drivers. However, this charge comes with relatively minor penalties. Generally, you only face license restrictions if you are convicted under VC 23136.
Underage DUI Charges for a BAC Over 0.04%
You may face more serious charges if your BAC is at or above 0.05% in Los Angeles. At that point, the court may prosecute you under Vehicle Code Section 23140. VC 23140 comes with a number of more serious penalties, including:
- Time in an alcohol education program
You may wonder how police officers measure your BAC in Los Angeles. They may perform a breathalyzer test after stopping you. Note that you are legally required to perform this test if it is requested. You give implied consent to take a breathalyzer test when you get behind the wheel and drive.
Police officers may also perform a blood or urine BAC test. However, these tests are generally only performed after you are arrested. You can contact a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles if you “failed” a BAC test and you’re under 21. Focus on handling these test results by calling (310) 896-2724.
Additional DUI Charges in Los Angeles, CA
Drivers under the age of 21 may also face standard “adult” charges for a DUI in Los Angeles. You may face these charges if your BAC exceeds the limit used for drivers over the age of 21. Drivers over 21 must keep their BAC below 0.08%.
Failure to maintain a BAC below 0.08% may result in Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) charges in Los Angeles. You may face many penalties for a VC 23152(a) conviction, regardless of your age. Some of the most common penalties include:
- High fines paid to the court
- Jail time of up to six months
- Probation of up to five years
You may also face restrictions on your driving privileges. You may end up spending months of time in an alcohol education program. Finally, the conviction will remain on your record for 10 years. Each time you face a subsequent DUI charge, your past conviction will count against you.
You should know that there are more serious charges used for some DUIs. For example, you may face harsher penalties if you caused a DUI accident that resulted in an injury or a death.
Build a Defense for Under 21 DUI Charges in California
You do not just have to accept a DUI charge if you are under the age of 21. You can get legal help by working on a defense with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. Your lawyer may work to show that you:
- Were stopped by a police officer without reasonable cause
- Were not driving with an elevated BAC
- Were subjected to incorrectly administered BAC tests
A lawyer may work to get evidence against you blocked in some cases. Your lawyer may also take steps to get your charges reduced or even dismissed. You can also work with a law firm to build a defense for the courtroom.
Ask a Lawyer What’s Considered a DUI for Someone Under the Age of 21 in California
What is considered a DUI for someone under the age of 21 in California? Anytime you drive with a BAC at or above 0.01%, you could face DUI charges if you’re under 21. You can get help handling these charges from a Los Angeles DUI lawyer.
Find out more by calling (310) 896-2724. You can also fill out our online contact form.
Reach out to us and get a FREE consultation right now.