1st Offense DUI Under 21 There's No Alternative

1st Offense DUI Under 21

The APS (Administrative Per Se) Zero Tolerance Law was enacted in 1994 in order to strongly deter drunk driving among those under 21 years of age. According to this law, the California Department of Motor Vehicles must suspend or take away a violator’s driving privileges if he or she either refuses to submit a PAS (preliminary alcohol screening) test or tests a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level of 0.01% or more.

What To Expect?

Upon being arrested for a DUI as someone under 21, the police officer will confiscate your driving license in order for your driving privileges to be suspended or revoked following the Vehicle Code sections 23136, 13353.1, 13388, and 13392. However, before your suspension starts, the police officer will issue you or the DMV will send you via mail a Suspension/Revocation Order that is a Temporary License for a thirty-day duration. At the end of these thirty days, your driving privileges are officially prohibited, which means that you are legally unable to drive and will be prosecuted heavily if you decide differently. It is important to note that a temporary license may be able to obtained depending on the specific situation.

Legal Penalties

A BAC level of 0.01-0.04% while under 21:

  • Being tested with a BAC level of 0.01-0.04% while being under the drinking age in California is a civil penalty that is usually governed by the DMV where the offender will not have to appear in court but rather in a DMV hearing. Of course, one’s attorney can still appeal an underage DUI charge on behalf of his or her client despite the penalty being civil and not criminal.
  • If you are under the age of 21 and refuse to take the PAS test or test to have a BAC level of 0.01% or more, you will be deprived of your driving privileges for at least one year, following the Zero Tolerance Law. If you commit a second offense within a ten-year period, your license will be taken away for two more years. The consequence of a third or more offense will be a three-year revocation of one’s ability to drive a motorized vehicle.
  • Depending upon your case, you may be able to request and receive a restrictive license at any DMV field office, as long as you can provide proof that your license will be used for transportation to work or to school.
  • When you have fulfilled all the requirements, you will then be issued a new California driver’s license. If you are under 21, you will have to pay a $100 reissue penalty and will have to prove that you have financial responsibility or that someone else is financially responsible for you.

A BAC level of 0.05%-0.07% while under the legal drinking age:

Being under the legal age for consuming alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.05%-0.07% means that you will face a civil and criminal penalty. You will be charged with a misdemeanor under California Vehicle Code 23140 while still facing the civil penalty charges.

  • A 1st conviction will follow a penalty of $100.
  • A 2nd conviction within a year will follow a $200. penalty
  • A 3rd conviction within a year will follow a $300 penalty.

A BAC level of 0.08% or above while under 21:

Even though the penalties of each case are contingent upon the uniqueness of the case, the penalties of a DUI with a BAC level of 0.08% or above usually applies to everyone regardless if someone is under 21 years of age. The civil penalties still apply while the criminal penalties become more severe.

  • You will be on a driving probation between three to five years.
  • You will have to pay fines from $390 to $1,000.
  • You will have to serve at least a year in county jail.
  • You have to attend classes at an alcohol abstinence program such as Alcoholic Anonymous, which the court approves.

If alcohol is found within the car upon the time of the DUI charge, you will face these additional consequences.

  • You car will be impounded for a duration from one to thirty days.
  • You will at least have to serve six months in jail.
  • You will be mandated to pay fines up to $1,000.

Possible School Penalties

While the repercussions of a 1st offense DUI primarily deal with the loss of driving privileges, the serving time in jail and in alcohol betterment course, and the paying of outstanding fees, a DUI may also affect school and future employment opportunities. The main adversity that all DUI offenders must face is the declaring of one’s DUI conviction on a college and employment application. One must report his or her driving offense under the section labeled criminal history. Declaring that you have driven under the influence may thwart an opportunity at receiving a good education or a good job in the future, especially when today’s universities and vocations are getting even more competitive.

A private high school or a private university may even damage a student’s current academic career or even suspend him or her for the incurred DUI. For instance, the prestigious Stanford University carries out this practice and justifies it as being in violation of Stanford’s Honor Code. If such an offense were made on Stanford’s campus, a student would have to be automatically referred to the Office of Community Standards to hinder one’s permanent academic record. This is just one of the many private institutions that have their own rules and pejorative responses to drinking and driving.

Defense Strategies

As mentioned before, an underage driver who tests a BAC level of 0.01% or above is in violation of the Zero-Tolerance Law. Such a violation or refusal to take the PAS test will charge an individual with a DUI that could incriminate his or her current opportunities but also and more importantly his or her future ones. One’s only real hope at readdressing the situation and arguing one’s innocence is through a highly-trained DUI Defense attorney. Good representation is the difference in many driving under the influence cases where the offender is actually innocent of a civil or criminal defense. An attorney with a proven-success record knows how to analyze the data and assess if the police officer on duty was following correct protocol and treated the alleged offender fairly.

A 1st offense DUI conviction can happen in a short time-span, but its negative effects are everlasting and damaging on one’s career goals and pursuits. Hiring an experienced lawyer is the only way to ensure that your case is handled fairly. Those facing charges in Riverside County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, or San Diego County are encouraged to contact our law office for a free confidential case evaluation.


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