California has what are referred to as “zero-tolerance” laws in effect for underaged drinking and driving. If a person is under 21 in California, they can be arrested for having any level of alcohol in their system if caught driving. There is even a special enhancement for underage DUI in California. DUI enhancements make the penalties for DUI stiffer and can even change, in some cases, a misdemeanor DUI into a felony. If the level of alcohol is greater than .05%, if convicted, the driver will lose their license, have a DUI on record, and be required to attend a 3-month DUI course. If there is an accident and people are injured or killed, the charges can become even more serious.
KGET reports on an underage driver arrested on DUI charges who crashed into a vehicle carrying a family of 5.
19-year-old Mark Gallegos is in custody and facing several charges, including suspicion of DUI after a Christmas morning collision.
The 2 a.m. crash happened at the intersections of Niles Street and Sterling Street in East Bakersfield.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Gallegos ran a red light and plowed into a Honda Pilot, which was carrying 5 people. The collision caused the Pilot to roll over and come to rest near a gas station.
Two minor children, one a 16-year-old female and another 11-year-old female suffered major injuries in the crash.
Gallegos fled the scene on foot. However, he later went to a hospital for treatment of a broken ankle and admitted to being the driver in the crash. Officers said that Gallegos showed signs of intoxication.
Police arrested Gallegos and charged him with felony DUI and hit-and-run.