California, like many states, has a “zero-tolerance” law in effect when it comes to underage drinking and driving. As such, someone who is underage and intoxicated while driving will face more serious repercussions than a driver who was legally able to drink. One of the first consequences is that the suspect, if convicted, will face all the same penalties as an adult. Even just a minute amount of alcohol in an underage person’s system, such as .01%, can lead to a DUI charge. A conviction can cause the underage driver to lose their license for as much as a year or longer and can affect acceptance to college.
The Ventura County Star reports on a man sentenced to 12 years in prison for an underage DUI that seriously injured one girl and killed two others.
21-year-old Brandon Woodward pleaded guilty last November to several charges centering around a 2017 DUI accident. The charges included two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence causing injury.
California Vehicle Code 23140 is applicable to underage individuals because it specifically addresses the issue of underage drinking and driving. This code section prohibits any person under the age of 21 from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% or higher.
The charges stem from a June 26th, 2017 crash. At the time of the accident, Woodward was 19. He was texting while driving and his car went off the road, causing the vehicle to roll six times. Also in the car were four friends.
Two of those friends, Lily Afton Brennan, 17, and 19-year-old Lesli Michael Sandoval Nunez died at the scene. Woodward and another 19-year-old male in the vehicle also suffered from major injuries.
Woodward’s 16-year-old girlfriend suffered from catastrophic injuries that have left her permanently disabled.
Last Thursday, a judge sentenced Woodward to 12 years in prison for the crash.