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Under 21 DUI

Los Angeles Underage DUI Defense Lawyer

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.

A DUI conviction can have ramifications on one's education and employment opportunities. Many colleges and universities ask about criminal history on their applications, and a DUI conviction could affect admission decisions. Additionally, some employers conduct background checks, and a DUI conviction may jeopardize job prospects, especially in fields that require driving or have strict moral conduct requirements.

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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 measurable 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.

Steps to Take If Your Child is Arrested for a DUI

Learning that a child has been arrested for DUI can be a distressing and challenging situation for any parent. Here are some steps that parents can take to address the situation effectively:

  1. Contact an Attorney: The first and most crucial step is to seek legal representation for your child. A skilled lawyer can provide invaluable guidance, protect your child's rights, and navigate them through the complex legal process.
  2. Gather Information: Encourage your child to provide you and their attorney with as much information as possible about the arrest. This includes details such as the date, time, and location of the incident, as well as any interactions with law enforcement officers. Additionally, obtain copies of any relevant documents, such as the police report and breathalyzer test results.
  3. Support and Encourage Cooperation: Offer your child emotional support during this challenging time. Reassure them that you are there to help them through the legal process. Encourage them to cooperate fully with their attorney and follow their advice closely.
  4. Explore Defense Strategies: Work closely with your child's attorney to explore potential defense strategies. A skilled DUI defense lawyer will thoroughly review the evidence against your child and identify any weaknesses or legal issues that could be used to challenge the charges. This may include questioning the legality of the traffic stop, challenging the accuracy of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results, or negotiating for reduced charges or penalties.
  5. Attend Court Proceedings: Support your child by attending their court hearings and legal proceedings. Your presence can provide emotional support and demonstrate to the judge and prosecutor that your child has a strong support system. Additionally, your child's attorney may need to consult with you or ask you to testify as a character witness on their behalf.
  6. Encourage Accountability and Rehabilitation: While it's important to defend your child against the DUI charges, it's also crucial to encourage accountability and rehabilitation. Encourage your child to take responsibility for their actions and participate in any recommended alcohol education or treatment programs. Emphasize the importance of learning from this experience and making positive changes to prevent future incidents.
  7. Follow Legal Advice: Your child's attorney is there to protect their rights and advocate on their behalf, so it's essential to trust their expertise and guidance.

By following these steps and working closely with an experienced DUI defense lawyer, parents can help their child navigate the legal process and achieve the best possible outcome in their DUI case.

Contacting a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

A person under 21 facing DUI charges of any kind will require the immediate legal counsel of a competent DUI lawyer. To have the best opportunity of avoiding driver's license suspension as well as possible criminal penalties, it is important to entrust your case to an attorney who can accurately evaluate your charges and determine exactly how to approach your defense.

At Gold & Witham, we understand the gravity of facing underage DUI charges in Los Angeles and the significant impact they can have on your future. Our experienced team of attorneys is dedicated to providing personalized and aggressive legal representation to defend your rights and protect your future.

We have a deep understanding of California DUI laws and the strategies necessary to challenge the evidence against you, whether it involves questioning the legality of the traffic stop, challenging the accuracy of field sobriety tests, or negotiating for reduced charges or penalties. With Gold & Witham by your side, you can trust that we will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, guiding you through every step of the legal process with expertise and compassion.

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