California law prohibits driving under the influence (DUI). It also makes it illegal for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. It should come as no surprise, then, that the law takes exception to minors who drink and then drive.
Having a skilled DUI-defense attorney at your side to protect your rights and interests is crucial if you've been arrested and charged with a juvenile DUI crime.
“Adult” DUI Charges
Just because you are under the age of 21 does not mean that you cannot be charged as an adult for DUI. California's law against drunk driving—California Vehicle Code 23152—is still on the table for minors.
This law makes it a crime to drive a vehicle while having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Breaking this law comes with a suspension of your driver's license and an alcohol education program, and can come with a fine of up to $1,000, up to 6 months in county jail, and up to 5 years of probation.
Underage DUI Charges
If you are under 21 and you are caught driving with a BAC of between 0.05% and 0.08%, you can still face drunk driving charges, despite the fact that you are below the legal limit for adults. California Vehicle Code 23140 prohibits this, and the penalties for violating it are significant: A mandatory alcohol education program, a $100 fine, and a license suspension of 1 year.
California's Zero Tolerance Law
California Vehicle Code 23136 is even stricter. This law makes it illegal for anyone under 21 years old to drive with any alcohol in their system. Those who violate this law will face a driver's license suspension of 1 year.
Defending Against a Charge of DUI
For minors who have been arrested and charged with DUI in California, there are legal options that you can take to fight against the accusation and protect your rights.
One of the most common is to challenge the results of the BAC test that is being used as evidence against you. BAC tests like breathalyzers are notoriously inaccurate and prone to giving the “false positives” that put innocent people into legal trouble. If you were arrested under California's zero-tolerance law for having just a hint of alcohol on your breath, this can be your best defense.
Another is to challenge the validity of the police officer's traffic stop. Police need probable cause to initiate a traffic stop for DUI, so they have to provide a reason for pulling you over. If they can't, the traffic stop is an unlawful one and any evidence they obtained during it will not be allowed in court against you.
Sacramento DUI-Defense Attorney John Campanella
A charge of drunk driving can impact you for years to come, so fighting against it should be your top priority. DUI-defense attorney John Campanella can help. Call his Sacramento law office at (877) DUI-JOHN or contact him online for the vigorous defense you need to defend your right to drive.