Underage DUI Attorney in Los Angeles
DUI under 21 in California
In California, laws are extremely strict regarding underage DUIs. By law, any measurable amount of alcohol in a driver under the age of 21 is considered unlawful and treated as an underage DUI.
California has been known for strict disciplinary action against underage DUIs and its zero tolerance laws in such cases. The BAC is confirmed by a chemical test after the arrest, which can either be a breath test or a blood test. Although anyone over the age of 18 is considered legally an adult, there are still strict laws in place for alcohol use under 21. California’s underage DUI and zero-tolerance laws are so strict that even a BAC of 0.01% is treated as a violation. Further, the criminal implications for over or under 21 DUI suspects are the same. However, the penalties are quite different.
California has one of the country’s strictest laws against driving with any measurable amount of alcohol if you are under 21 years of age.
As in a regular DUI, it comes in two parts: the DMV administrative process and the criminal process in court.
The DMV hearing will be based on whether a preliminary alcohol screening device or other chemical test detected a measured .01 or higher blood alcohol level. If the finding is sustained there is a mandatory one year license suspension.
At court, there are various possible charges depending on the actual BAC of the driver. The case can be filed as a standard DUI (.08% bac or higher), or as an infraction in cases of very low blood alcohol levels.
However, conviction of any alcohol-related driving while under 21, still leads to a one year suspension.
Unlike in the criminal case, or a person over 21 receiving an Admin Per Se Notice of Suspension, the DMV can rely solely on the evidence from the PAS device (Preliminary Alcohol Screen) to determine whether a violation of the zero tolerance law has occurred. That means that even a reading as low as a .01 BAC can be used to suspend your license for one year.
One of the first places an experienced DUI lawyer will look is to obtain the calibration, maintenance and accuracy tests of the PAS device prior to the DMV hearing. Only an experienced DUI lawyer knows how to obtain, review and analyze these important records that can often determine the outcome of the hearing.
Another area that a good DUI lawyer will want to take a close look at is the circumstances surrounding the original police contact. It’s crucial to establish that the officer had a legitimate basis to initiate a stop. It’s important to emphasize that cops have no right to stop anyone unless they believe a law has been broken, or they have another legally valid reason as the basis for the contact. Their hunch is not enough!
Penalties for DUI Under 21 in California
Penalties for DUI under 21 in California are based on many factors: blood alcohol level, age, previous DUI record, and if there are other intoxicating substances involved.
For DUI under 21:
- One year suspension of the driver’s license
- If the BAC is higher than 0.01%, then the suspect is subjected to fines and has to attend DUI school.
- With a BAC above 0.08%, the suspect is treated as any other driver where he can face jail time, a year-long suspension of driver’s license, heavy fines, DUI school and probation.
- If the DUI is a repeat offense, the penalties will be increased significantly.
While these are the possible penalties in a DUI arrest, there are defenses. With a good lawyer at your side, you can turn the DMV hearing in your favor. C. Robert Brooks is the DUI attorney in Los Angeles who can represent your case with the best possible outcome. Brooks takes the time to scrutinize the various factors involved, such as BAC tests before and after the arrest, the suspect’s record, and the quality of the driving.
If you are looking for a DUI attorney in Los Angeles to provide a defense in an underage DUI, get in touch with C. Robert Brooks’ Law Office now.
Obviously, it’s important to have good representation if there is to be any hope of saving your license. You’ll want the best legal defense possible, so call now.