In California, if you are a minor driving under the influence, there is a “zero tolerance” policy. What does this mean? As a minor it is illegal to drive with blood alcohol content (BAC) of even .01%. There are three charges you could face, depending upon the facts surrounding your case:
·CA Vehicle Code 23136, the Zero Tolerance Law;
·CA Vehicle Code 23140, BAC of .05-.07%; and
·CA Vehicle Code 23152, Driving under the Influence (DUI).
Each of the three possible charges is explained in more detail below. However, because the penalties, punishment and sentencing for a DUI conviction vary widely, representation by a San Diego criminal lawyer is essential to preserving your rights and ensuring the best possible disposition. If you are charged with DUI, please contact us as we can advise you on, and develop the best and strongest legal strategy for your case.
CA Vehicle Code 23136, the Zero Tolerance Law
What does “zero tolerance” mean?
This is a civil offense. If you are under 21 years old and have any measurable alcohol in your system, then you are subject to penalties. That is the “zero tolerance” for minors DUI: You cannot have ANY alcohol in your system.
What are the penalties and potential punishment for violating “zero tolerance”?
What will you face? If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, then your license will be suspended for one to three years, depending upon the facts surrounding your case. If you submit to a chemical test and your BAC is .01% or more, then you face an automatic one year suspension of your license (or a one year delay in driving privilege if you have yet to obtain your license).
Because a violation of this code section is a civil offense, the enforcement is left in the hands of the California DMV. If you are arrested, then you need to request a DMV Hearing within ten days of your arrest. Although the hearing takes place at the DMV, you have the right to be represented by an experienced San Diego criminal attorney. CA Vehicle Code 23140, Minor Driving with BAC of .05-.07%
As a minor driving under the influence with BAC of .05-.07%, you face a misdemeanor charge. Although this offense is not punishable with prison or jail time, the sentencing, punishment, and penalties can be severe. The penalties depend upon whether it is a first, second, or third conviction, and range from $100-$300. In addition to the penalty, you will have your license suspended for one year, and possibly be ordered to participate in one or more alcohol programs.
CA Vehicle Code 23152, Driving Under the Influence
To whom does this section apply?
This code section carries a misdemeanor charge and applies to everyone (no matter his/her age) who drives under the influence. Thus, if you are a minor with BAC of .08% or greater, and/or you are driving under the influence, then you could be convicted and sentenced to a CA misdemeanor DUI.
What are the penalties and potential punishment for DUI?
The sentencing, punishment, and penalties vary depending upon the facts of your case and your past/prior criminal and/or DUI history. More emphasis is placed on your past DUI history; however, any prior incidents can affect your punishment and/or penalties. If you are convicted, you could receive:
·three to five years probation;
·up to $1,000 fine;
·up to 1 year in jail;
·participation in a court approved alcohol program/class; and
·a six month suspension of your driver license.
If you are charged with violating any of these, please contact one of our San Diego criminal attorneys to protect your legal rights and interests. As knowledgeable and experienced DUI lawyers, we can ensure you have proactive and comprehensive criminal defense.