DUI Arrests for People under Age 21
If you are under the age of 21 and you have been detained for drinking alcohol and driving or arrested for DUI, you need to be aware of different rules and penalties that apply to you.
The DMV has a zero tolerance policy for people under the age of twenty one who have been stopped by the police with alcohol in their system. If you have any measurable amount of alcohol in your system you are facing a one year license suspension. The police can measure your breath alcohol level using a hand held breath machine at the point of the traffic stop. If the machine reads .01% or above, the police will report the matter to the DMV. You are then given ten days to contact the DMV to request a DMV Hearing in an effort to avoid a license suspension. It is important for you to know that despite the zero tolerance law, a suspension can still be avoided by winning the DMV hearing. The DMV still must establish evidence of probable cause and also bear the burden of establishing the accuracy of the breath test results.
As far as the Court case is concerned, it is an infraction to drive a vehicle with a .05% or higher breath or blood alcohol level if you are under twenty one. Because this is an infraction no jail time can be imposed. However, penalties can include fines and alcohol education programs including a program for young offenders requiring a hospital and morgue visit.
However, for criminal proceedings, the same rules apply for those under the age of twenty one in that DUI charges are only appropriate with evidence of impairment or a breath or blood alcohol level of over .08%.
A conviction for any alcohol related offense will also result in a one year license suspension for those under twenty one. It is possible to apply to the DMV for a Critical Need License, allowing work or school related driving, but the DMV does not grant Critical Need License privileges easily or often. The process to apply is a documentary one and requires legal help and advice.
If you are under 21 and you have been detained for drinking and driving in Los Angeles or Orange County, please contact expert DUI Defense Attorneys, Gold & Witham, for professional advice and representation.