California has become known around the nation for its notoriously harsh laws on DUI, especially as it pertains to individuals who are under the legal drinking age of 21. Because alcohol possession and consumption is illegal for anyone under 21, the state has a “zero-tolerance” policy when it comes to the blood alcohol concentration of someone who is underage. What this means is that any traceable amount of alcohol found in an underage person’s bloodstream can and will constitute arrest for underage DUI.
In comparison to the .08 blood alcohol concentration limit for adults over 21, an underage DUI charge may be issued against a person under 21 even if their BAC level is recorded at .01. Again, this is because the state does not allow for alcohol consumption under the age of 21 and any alcohol in the bloodstream during a traffic stop indicates that person has been drinking illegally. To put this in perspective, most people will reach a BAC level at or above .01 percent by drinking one 12-ounce bottle of beer, one glass of wine or one 1.25 glass of liquor. This strict standard is to discourage the practice of drinking and driving as well as alcohol consumption outside of legal bounds.
Underage individuals should not make the mistake of assuming that they cannot be charged with a regular DUI. The way that the law in California is designed allows for a DUI charge to be placed on young adults with a BAC level of over .01 percent. This charge carries a sentence of one year suspended license and any repeated offenses within ten years will constitute even harsher punishments. If the young adult's BAC level is recorded at a percentage above .05, they may be convicted of a regular DUI and face charges as any legal adult would for a BAC level over .08 percent. This charge has the potential to carry a sentence of jail time, fines and community service.
Upon the arrest of a young adult for DUI, the state may choose to confiscate his or her vehicle in addition to suspending their license. This will mean future costs of restoration that can reach up to thousands of dollars, in addition to any fines associated with the actual conviction of DUI. Any underage young adult who is arrested for DUI and causing injury to another person during their period of intoxication may also be subject to up to one year spent in prison depending on the severity of injury.
When someone is convicted of underage DUI, they are usually just beginning their life as adults and pursuing career or educational goals. Having a conviction for DUI on record will hinder their chances at present and future success significantly. Any college applications will require them to give a record of their DUI conviction, as will applications for employment. In most cases, this may bar that person from being admitted into their desired school or being given the career they are striving for. In addition to the immediate ramifications that an underage DUI conviction will bring, the consequences will follow that unfortunate individual for many years to come.
If you have been arrested for underage DUI, you are facing lifelong consequences for one small lapse in judgment. Do not let this one mistake cost you a future of career and education opportunities. Contact a Ventura criminal defense attorney today to make sure that you have a solid and reliable defense against the charges. Being arrested does not mean you have to be convicted, and Attorney Douglas H. Ridley wants to ensure that you receive and fair and positive outcome.
Contact our office today by calling (805) 208-1866 and learn more about how we want to defend you.