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How Does an Underage DUI Conviction Affect Young Drivers in California?

Posted on in DUI

CA DUI lawyerA DUI conviction can have lasting consequences for anyone, but it can be especially hard for drivers under the age of 21 who are just beginning their adult lives. If you or your child has been charged with an underage drinking offense in California, it is understandable that you would be concerned about the outcome of your case. An attorney can inform you of the possible consequences and prepare a defense that may help you avoid them.

Penalties for Underage DUI

In California, drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of an alcohol-related offense can face both administrative and criminal penalties, depending on the circumstances. The severity of the consequences depends in large part on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as measured by a preliminary breath test or chemical test.

For example, underage drivers with a BAC of at least 0.01 are subject to a one-year suspension of their driver’s license according to California’s zero-tolerance law, but this is likely to be the only penalty they face. With a BAC of at least 0.05, the driver can also be assessed a fine, and if they are at least 18 years old, they can be ordered to complete a DUI education program before having their license reinstated. Notably, neither of these charges will result in jail time.

However, if an underage driver has a BAC of at least 0.08, they can face the same consequences as a driver who is over the age of 21. In addition to a driver’s license suspension and mandatory DUI education program, a sentence can include a fine of up to $1,000, and in some cases, up to six months in jail. Sometimes, the court will order an underage driver to participate in a Youthful Drunk Driver Visitation Program, in which they will visit a trauma center, coroner’s office, or addiction recovery center in order to witness the effects of drunk driving. A conviction will also count as a prior DUI offense if the driver is charged with another offense in the next 10 years.

Additional Consequences

Aside from the administrative and criminal penalties associated with underage DUI, a conviction can lead to other life consequences for young drivers. For example, the driver may be subject to increased car insurance premiums, creating an additional financial burden for many years. A criminal record including a DUI conviction can also be an obstacle when applying for jobs or college admission.

Contact a San Francisco Underage DUI Lawyer

If you need help contesting an underage DUI charge, Burglin Law Offices, P.C. can provide the defense representation you need. We will consider all reasonable options to help you avoid conviction or have your charges reduced, protecting you from unnecessary penalties and hardship. Contact us at 415-729-7300 for a free consultation with an experienced Richmond County DUI defense attorney.





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