DUI Attorney in Sacramento Explains DUI’s For Those Under the Age of 21
Getting a DUI is a serious matter which should be discussed with a DUI attorney in Sacramento immediately. There are two main laws that cover underage DUIs in California:
Vehicle Code 23136 VC
This is known as the “zero tolerance” law for underage DUI. This law states that anyone under the age of 21 that drives with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01% or greater is in violation of the law and may face a one-year suspension of their driver’s license.
This law is not only limited to alcoholic beverages and includes any sources that include alcohol, including medications.
In order to determine the presence of very low amounts of alcohol in the underage driver’s blood, law officers use a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test. This can be conducted through a standard breathalyzer or similar device and works by measuring the alcohol on a person’s breath and converts it to the blood content.
Though breaking this law is not a crime with severe punishments, it is still advantageous to hire a skilled DUI attorney in Sacramento. An attorney can help an individual in violation of this law to challenge the license suspension, resulting in a cancellation of the suspension or in the procurement of a special “restricted hardship” license, which permits the individual to drive to work, school, or for family affairs.
Vehicle Code 23140 VC
This is an additional law regarding drivers under the age of 21, often referred to as the “underage DUI” law, and outlines additional consequences if an underage driver is caught with a BAC of 0.05% or greater. A violation of this law may result in fines up to $100, a one-year suspension of the driver’s license, as well as 3 or more months of mandatory alcohol education school (for those 18 and over).
When an individual is arrested for an underage DUI after failing a roadside breathalyzer, the blood alcohol content is typically confirmed by a chemical test. This is done by an additional breath test on a desktop machine at the police station, or through a blood test.
Vehicle Code 23224 VC
Though technically not a DUI, VC23224 prohibits possession of alcohol in a vehicle by a person younger than 21 years of age. Violation of this law is considered a misdemeanor and may result in a one-year suspension of the driver’s license, a fine of up to $1000, and vehicle impoundment for up to 30 days.
Drivers under 21 years of age are not permitted to have alcohol in the car unless the following conditions are met:
- The container is full, sealed, and unopened
- The driver is either accompanied by a parent or other adult; disposing of the alcohol under direction from a parent or other adult; or traveling with it for work purposes
In addition to violating the above laws, which only apply to drivers under 21, an underage driver may also be charged with an adult (standard) DUI offense when applicable.
Any individual may be charged with a standard adult DUI (VC23152b) if they are operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher or if an officer observes impaired driving ability that can be attributed to alcohol or drugs. Violation of this law may result in the suspension of the driver’s license, 3 to 5 years of misdemeanor probation, a fine of $390 to $1000, mandatory alcohol education school, and up to 6 months in county jail. If you have been charged with a DUI, make sure you contact a DUI attorney in Sacramento immediately for legal representation.
Fighting the Charges
It is very important to seek legal advice from an experienced DUI attorney in Sacramento when charged with DUI offenses while underage. An experienced attorney may be able to successfully defend a client from prosecution. The following list includes some of the most common DUI and underage DUI defenses:
- The charged individual was not driving
- The DUI testing equipment was in error
- The individual conducting the DUI chemical test did not follow proper procedure
- The charged individual had BAC results that are within the margin of error of an acceptable BAC level
- The driver’s alcohol was still being processed in the body at the time of arrest, resulting in a higher BAC at the time of testing than what was actually in the individual’s blood when they were driving
- The BAC test result was due to alcohol in the driver’s mouth from another source, such as mouthwash
- A medical condition such as acid reflux contributed to the driver’s BAC results
- A high protein, low carbohydrate diet contributed to the driver’s BAC results
- The arresting officer conducted an illegal traffic stop, resulting in the driver’s arrest
- The arrest was unlawful
- The arresting officer failed to fully advise the driver of his or her rights
Contact a DUI Attorney in Sacramento for Legal Representation
California law enforcement has been cracking down on DUI’s. Being convicted of a DUI can have serious implications on your life. The Law Offices of Alin Cintean is dedicated to fight your case and ensure any consequences are minimized if you are under the age of 21. Give us a call at (916) 441-3500 to speak to a DUI attorney in Sacramento.