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Los Angeles Underage DUI Attorneys

Defending Clients Against Underage DUI Charges in Los Angeles

If you are under the age of 21, you can be arrested in California for driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in your body. Upon conviction, among other penalties you may be facing, your driver’s license can be suspended for a year, even with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01%. If you are facing underage DUI charges, speak with an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

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What Are the California Laws on Underage DUI?

The two main state laws on underage DUI can be found in the California Vehicle Code at Sections 23136 and 23140.

  • Section 23136 is California’s zero tolerance law. It states in part: “. . . it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, to drive a vehicle.”
  • Section 23140 states: “It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.”

In addition to the above two laws pertaining specifically to underage DUI, drivers under the age of 21 may also be charged with violations of standard DUI laws for adults, if they apply. Refusing to take a breath or other DUI chemical test will result in driver’s license suspension for at least one year.

DUI can apply to drugs as well as alcohol. Although recreational use of marijuana for people 21 and older is now legal in California, it is not legal for minors, and DUI of marijuana at any age remains a crime. DUI penalties are the same for drugs as they are for alcohol.

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What Are the Penalties If You Are Convicted of Underage DUI?

Penalties for underage DUI can depend on the amount of alcohol in the blood. If convicted of “adult” DUI offenses, underage drivers may face criminal penalties in addition to driver’s license suspension. DUI under the age of 21 can carry the following penalties:

  • BAC .01% (zero tolerance): Driver’s license suspension for one year.
  • BAC .05%: Driver’s license suspension for one year; fine of $100; alcohol education program.
  • BAC .08% (DUI per se): Driver’s license suspension; misdemeanor probation for three to five years; fine of $390 to $1,000; alcohol education program; jail sentence of up to six months.
  • Standard DUI (actual impairment): Driver’s license suspension; misdemeanor probation for three to five years; fine of $390 to $1,000; alcohol education program; up to six months in jail.

If underage DUI results in an accident in which someone else is injured, it may be punishable by five days to a year in jail when charged as a misdemeanor, or two to four years or more in prison when charged as a felony, in addition to other penalties. A driver under the age of 21 with a BAC greater than .08% is treated the same under the law as any other driver charged with DUI.

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What Are the Possible Legal Defenses Against Underage DUI

Common underage DUI defenses include the following:

  • No probable cause for a traffic stop or arrest.
  • Law enforcement did not follow proper procedures for chemical testing.
  • There was alcohol in your mouth from another source, such as mouthwash.
  • You were on a high protein, low carb diet that may have affected test results.

Our experienced Los Angeles underage DUI attorney can raise every defense against the charges that apply in your case. Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460.

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Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP Today
Phone: (213) 688-0460
Fax: (213) 624-1942

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