Under 21 DUI
Representing Minor DUI Drivers in Fresno, CA and across the Central Valley
Under 21 DUI Laws
Those charged with driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) who happen to be under age 21 are faced with some heavy consequences in the State of California. California's "Zero Tolerance" laws impose draconian consequences on drivers under age 21 who are caught driving with any amount of alcohol in their system.
The under 21 driver faces a one year license suspension even if they are driving with only a .01 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC). They also face mandatory attendance at a 3 month, 30 hour, first time-offender DUI course. This “Zero Tolerance” law can be found in Vehicle Code section 23136 and 23140. Vehicle Code 23136 makes it illegal for a driver under 21, to drive with a BAC of 0.01 percent or more, as measured by a chemical test.
Underage Drivers Have Rights
If you are under 21 and you are driving a vehicle, you have in effect given your consent to take a chemical test to determine in you have alcohol or drugs in your system, if you are lawfully detained. This last part is critical. If you have not been lawfully detained, the test should be excluded from evidence both under the fourth amendment and the vehicle code. An under 21 driver is accorded with the same privileges against unlawful seizure as an adult.
According to Vehicle Code section 13353.1, under 21 driver has the right to be told that his or her failure to submit to, or failure to complete, a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test at an officer’s request can result in a suspension or revocation of their license for one to three years.
Vehicle Code section 23140 also makes it an infraction for an under 21 driver to drive a vehicle with a .05 percent or more BAC. Of course, these “zero tolerance” drunk driving laws do not prevent an under 21 driver from being charged with adult DUI violations as well. If a minor is at or above a .08% BAC, it is very likely they will be charged with the standard adult DUI charge. However, if they are under the age of 18, the prosecution will take place in the juvenile court. If you are under the age of 21 and charged with driving under the influence, contact Fresno DUI Lawyer Michael E. Mitchell today to arrange a free initial consultation for your case.
Critical Need License
In the event, an under 21 driver does not prevail at the DMV hearing, a hardship or critical need license is available. In order to receive a critical need license, the driver needs to show that they cannot rely on anyone else in the family for transportation and pubic transportation alternatives are not available within a reasonable distance. If they can convince DMV that they will be deprived of the ability to attend work and school, due to a lack of transportation, a critical need license may be granted.