Underage DUI: Everything You Need to Know
A person is convicted for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if he/she drives a vehicle while being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. DUI is one of the most common reasons for an arrest in Los Angeles, especially for young adults. Adults under the age of 21 can be the worst sufferers as the charges will not just cause them to lose their driving privilege for a year or more, but can also prove a hurdle in them getting a good-paying job or being accepted to the college/university of their choice. And so, here in this blog we will discuss everything about underage DUI and how you can resolve the charges with the help of the right DUI attorney:
What is underage DUI?
Underage DUI as per the California Vehicle Code Section 23136 is when a person under 21 years of age performs the act of operating a motor vehicle while having certain amount of alcohol in their system ( a BAC of 0.01% or higher).
Criminal penalties for underage DUI depend on the level of blood alcohol content (BAC) found in the body and are as follows:
01% BAC or higher – California has a so-called ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy for drivers under the age of 21; anyone found having a BAC of 0.01% will lose their driver’s license for a year.
05% BAC or higher – Being found with this amount of BAC, the person will have his license suspended for a year while also being fined $100 and will have to attend a DUI course for three months.
08% BAC or higher – This could land the young adult in jail or juvenile custody for up to six months besides having to pay for and attend a DUI course lasting three to nine months.
How can you protect young adults from Underage DUI charges?
While many think that there is hardly anything that they can do about underage DUI charge, this is not true; hiring the right underage DUI attorney in Los Angeles can prove effective as he/she can come up with defense strategies that can work wonders. Some of the common defense strategies used by attorneys in Los Angeles include:
1. Mistaken Identity – The police have to catch you driving the vehicle under the influence. If you were simply seen by the police in a parked car or not driving the vehicle but sitting in the vehicle, police cannot claim that you were operating the vehicle and so your BAC level will not matter.
2. Faulty BAC equipment – The police have to maintain breathalyzer or other BAC testing equipment on a regular schedule and record the same in official documents. In the absence of such records, you have the chance of reporting malfunctioned equipment.
3. FSTs are not always reliable – Sometimes you can get faulty field sobriety tests for reasons other than intoxication with alcohol or drugs. Anything could mimic the effects of alcohol, from exhaustion, nervousness, certain medical conditions to effects of legitimate medications, etc.
4. Police report not up-to-the-mark – If the police report is incomplete or conflicts with other testimony and evidence, doubt may be cast on its reliability, thus helping you make your claim of being innocent.
What tactics can an experienced DUI lawyer use?
Besides the above mentioned strategies, a good underage DUI attorney in Los Angeles will try to win for you before your case can even get to the trial for which he might do the following:
- Negotiate with the prosecutor – An experienced DUI attorney will have prior knowledge of the prosecutors take on underage DUI cases and he will use the same to negotiate with him and thus knock the charge down to something less severe.
- Know the judge – More often than not, experienced attorneys understand the views of judges on underage DUI and tailor their arguments based on latter’s approach on the matter.
Now that you know how underage DUI attorney in Los Angeles can help you using the right tactics and strategies, if you or a teenager in your family is charged with DUI, you should call C. Robert Brooks. With over 25 years of experience and specialization in DUI cases, Mr. Brooks can help.