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Legal Repercussions for California Juvenile DUI Offenders

Posted on in DUI

San Jose underage DUI defense attorneyLike many states, California has stringent laws when it comes to underage drinking and driving. The legal drinking age for all states is 21 years old, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 24% of car accident fatalities for drivers in the 15 to 20 age bracket involved alcohol. From that statistic, 82% had a .08% BAC or higher, which is the legal limit for adults over 21 years of age.

Not only do many juveniles occasionally make improper judgment calls, such as when drinking in driving, but also their bodies do not process alcohol the same as adults. These differences increase the necessity for alcohol regulations for California’s youth, such as the Zero Tolerance law for underage DUI. If you or your child currently face juvenile DUI charges, it is essential to understand the allegations and what potential penalties those charges carry.

Underage-Specific DUI Laws

In California, there are two specific laws geared toward underage drunk drivers- VEH 23136 and VEH 23140. Both ordinances are only applicable to individuals under the age of 21 choosing to operate a vehicle after drinking alcohol.

VEH 23136: California’s Zero Tolerance law states that any person under the age of 21 caught driving a vehicle with a .01% BAC or higher will face a driver’s license suspension of at least one year. The punishment for guilty parties is one year of license suspension.

VEH 23140: Anyone under 21 found operating a vehicle with a BAC higher than .05%. Possible penalties include the mandatory completion of an alcohol education class, driver's license suspension, and fines of up to $100 for a first offense.

Other Possible Charges for Juvenile DUIs

In California, neither underage DUI law prohibits a juvenile from receiving adult DUI charges.

VEH 23152: This is the “standard” adult DUI charge. If a minor has a BAC of over .08%, the legal limit, they can also receive this charge. Adult DUI punishments include license suspension, completion of an alcohol education class, up to six months in county jail, and fines ranging from $390 to $1,000.

VEH 23153: Anyone found driving with a .08% BAC or higher that causes bodily harm to someone else is punishable by spending up to 12 months in jail, a license suspension, and fines ranging from  $390 to $5,000.

Contact a Santa Clara County Juvenile DUI Defense Attorney

Underage DUI remains on your or your child’s criminal record, potentially limiting future endeavors. If you or your child are facing juvenile DUI offenses, you should not go it alone. You need a skilled and knowledgeable San Jose juvenile DUI defense lawyer at your side to protect your rights. The lawyers at Jachimowicz Law Group will utilize decades of criminal defense experience to obtain the best outcome for your case. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at 408-246-5500.

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