California’s DUI laws are some of the strictest in the country, and this is especially the case with DUI laws that pertain to underage drivers. Any underage driver that’s caught driving under the influence can expect to incur severe penalties. In order for California’s underage drivers to understand how serious a DUI charge could be for them, I thought I’d take the time to review some of these laws.

California is a Zero Tolerance State

Like many other states in the country, California has exactly zero tolerance when it comes to underage drivers driving under the influence. What does this mean exactly, though? It means that underage drivers do not enjoy the cushion that exists between a .01 and a .08 BAC reading. Rather, any measurable amount of alcohol in an underage driver’s system is grounds for immediate arrest, pure and simple.

Penalties for Underage DUIs in California

The state doesn’t just have zero tolerance when it comes to underage DUIs, the state also has stiff penalties for those who are convicted of driving under the influence when underage. As with the penalties that of-age drivers face, those facing underage drivers are scaled depending upon the severity of the DUI offense. If an underage driver registered a BAC reading of .08 or lower, then these are the minimum penalties that the driver can expect: For one, the driver’s license will be suspended for an entire year. Also, the driver will be required to submit to DUI classes and could face potential fines.

If the driver was arrested for a DUI offense in which his or her BAC registered above the .08 threshold, then things get more severe. The driver will be expected to pay up to $1000 in fines and will also be required to attend DUI classes. In addition to this, the driver can expect to be put on probation by the courts. This probation period can last anywhere from three to five years.

Of course, these penalties assume that the underage driver was simply pulled over. If the driver was involved in an accident, or if their DUI resulted in someone’s bodily injury or death, then the penalties that driver can expect to face will become quite severe, indeed. Moreover, the DUI will be considered a felony by the state of California, which means that, following a conviction, the underage driver will lose his or her right to vote or own a firearm.

Dealing with Underage DUI Charges in the State of California

Given the severity of the penalties that face underage drivers convicted of a DUI, as well the black mark that it will put on their records, it’s important that those facing these charges seek experienced legal counsel. Over my many years practicing law, I’ve represented numerous underage drivers facing DUI charges, and I’ve helped them to achieve the best results in their cases possible.

There are a number of different defenses that can be offered up in these cases. For one, the grounds for the arrest can be challenged through pre-trail motions, and the validity of the Breathalyzer or chemical tests administered in the case can be called into question. If fighting the charges against you through a trial is not a viable option, I can help you to achieve the best bargain possible from the prosecutor. Either way, if you’re facing an underage DUI charge in California, then you need to get in touch. Simply call (760) 613-5384‬ to arrange a free consultation regarding your case.