California generally has a “zero tolerance” policy for juveniles who are found to be guilty of a DUI. If you are a juvenile who has been charged with a DUI, you may be charged not only for a juvenile DUI, but also a traditional DUI if your blood alcohol content is over the legal limit of 0.08%.
If you are a minor and you have been charged with a DUI, it is important that you seek an experienced DUI defense attorney to assist you through the legal process.
California’s “Zero Tolerance” Law (California Vehicle Code 23136)
Under California Vehicle Code section 23136, it is unlawful for you to drive a vehicle if you are under the age of 21 and have a blood alcohol content of 0.01% or greater. This is commonly called California’s “Zero Tolerance” law because it does not require that you be under the influence of alcohol, just that you have some measurable amount of alcohol in your system.
What constitutes driving under the influence?
California is considered a zero-tolerance state, although unlike other zero-tolerance states, the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) must be above .01%, in order for the driver to be cited for driving under the influence.
What are the penalties?
|First DUI||Second DUI|
|Jail||4 days up to 6 months||10 days up to 1 year|
|Fine||$1400 to $2600||$1800 to $2800|
|License Suspension||30 days to 10 months||2 years|
If you refuse the chemical test the juvenile faces a one year minimum suspension. But see the Hardship License possibility below, second to last paragraph:
What other charges?
In addition to driving under the influence, an underage drinker may be charged with any of the following:
- distributing alcohol to other minors (depends whether there were underage drunk passengers?),
- minor in possession,
- soliciting alcohol,
- child endangerment law violations,
- possession of false identification (was a fake ID used to purchase alcohol?), and
- Any moving violations and/ or vehicle maintenance violations (what else did the arresting officer see?)
California Vehicle Code section 23136 explains that the law considers you to have already consented to an alcohol screening test or blood alcohol content test if you are under the age of 21 and operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol.
If you are convicted of a DUI under California Vehicle Code section 23136, you face a misdemeanor and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend your driver’s license for up to one year.
Under 21 DUI with a BAC of 0.05% – 0.07% (California Vehicle Code 23140)
California Vehicle Code section 23140 states that it is unlawful for you to operate a vehicle if you are under the age of 21 and your blood alcohol content is between 0.05% and 0.07%. If you are found guilty under California Vehicle Code section 23140, you face a sentence of up to six months in county jail and a fine.
If you are found guilty of a second violation under California Vehicle Code section 23140 within one year, you could face a sentence of up to one year in county jail and the fine increase substantially. The fine increases for a third offense within one year and you could face up to one year in county jail.
If you are found to have violated California Vehicle Code section 23140, you will also be in violation of California Vehicle Code section 23136, or California’s “Zero Tolerance” law. As a result, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year in addition to the penalties you face under California Vehicle section 23140. The court may also require that you attend an alcohol program before your driving privileges are reinstated.
Traditional DUI (California Vehicle Code 23152)
If you are a minor, you may still be charged under California’s traditional DUI law, California Vehicle Code section 23152, if your blood alcohol content was 0.08% or higher while you were operating the vehicle. A conviction for violating California Vehicle Code section 23152 carries significant consequences.
Punishment for a first-time DUI offense in California may require that you serve up to six months in county jail and pay a fine up to $1,000. However, after all of the court fees, and other add-ons are calculated the fine for a first time offender usually exceeds $2,400. We are able to get our first time offender an easy $75/month payment plan with the court. Each County’s fine schedules and amounts are different.
For example Sonoma County assesses a higher fine than Marin County. In addition, to the court fine, court costs, fees, penalties, attorney fees and an increase in your insurance premium can bring your total cost for a DUI conviction to nearly $16,000. In addition to the fines and fees discussed above the court will impose court probation upon the first time underage drinker for usually up to three years.
That means the underage drinker or offender has to be of good conduct and lead a law abiding life during that length of time or risk a violation of probation. Fortunately, court probation is not as strict as supervised probation, where the offender would then have to report to a probation’s officer.
In some cases where the driving was egregious or there was an injury the Court will impose a five year probationary period upon your case, but our attorneys fight that attempt tooth and nail and are usually successful.
If you have violated California Vehicle Code section 23152, you can still be found to be in violation of California Vehicle Code section 23136 and 23140, and will be subject to the consequences associated with those offenses.
JUVENILES GET SOME LIMITED RELIEF—But ask your experienced DUI Attorney
Can I get a hardship license? In a typical Sonoma County zero-tolerance case, with no allegation of refusal, injury or other aggravating circumstances, most minors become eligible for a critical need restricted Class “C” California license following a 30-day period of suspension by the Santa Rosa DMV if certain hardships can be shown.
The most important hardship which must be demonstrated is that public transportation is inadequate to accomplish safe and practical travel to school, work or medical care of a family member.
Call Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC Today
If you are a juvenile facing DUI charges, Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC is here to help.
We have over 40 years of combined DUI Defense experience helping clients avoid the devastating consequences of a DUI conviction and are knowledgeable about juvenile cases. Criminal charges as a juvenile can have a negative effect on your future and affect your life for years to come.
Do not hesitate to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 to help you with your case.
“The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference”
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