Under 21 DUI Offenses
Arrested for underage drinking and driving?
When a driver who is under 21 years old is pulled over for suspected driving under the influence (DUI), he or she will face particular complications associated with this offense.
There are actually three different criminal offenses related to underage DUI:
- BAC of 0.01% or Greater – A driver under the age of 21 who operates a motor vehicle while with a BAC of 0.01% or greater may face driver's license suspension for 1 year.
- BAC of 0.05% or Greater – A driver under the age of 21 who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05% or greater may face a mandatory alcohol education/rehabilitation program, as well as driver's license suspension for 1 year.
- BAC of 0.08% or Greater - For a driver of any age, having a BAC of 0.08% or greater is a criminal offense that may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony; it may be punishable by imprisonment, fines, driver's license suspension, community service, and probation.
California's "Zero Tolerance" Law
California has taken a "zero tolerance" stance when it comes to underage drinking and driving by establishing an administrative per se immediate driver license suspension for any driver under the age of 21 who was caught driving with any measureable alcohol in their system (0.01 percent).
The law was established in 1990 and can now be found in the California Vehicle Code § 23136. Administrative per se license suspension for drivers 21 years or younger also applies to individuals who refuse to take or complete a chemical test (breath, blood, and urine tests).
What happens to my driver's license if it's suspended?
If you are under 21 and your BAC is at or above 0.01 percent, then your license will be immediately suspended. Like with older drivers whose licenses are suspended after a DUI arrest, you will be given a temporary license to drive that lasts 30 days. Like any other DUI arrestee, you will have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a DMV hearing.