Underage DUI – Under 21 years old

California Vehicle Code Section 23136, 23140

All states have a zero tolerance policy for underage DUI offenses. This policy means that if you are under the age of 21, you cannot be caught driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system. There are three basic types of DUIs for persons under 21 years of age depending on your blood alcohol content at the time: (1) 0.01% - 0.04%; (2) 0.05%-0.07%; and (3) 0.08% or greater. Possession of alcohol in a vehicle by a person under 21 years old is also an offense.

  1. California Vehicle Code § 23136: Underage driving with BAC of 0.01% or greater
    This is California's "zero tolerance law." Under Section 23136, it is an infraction to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in your system if you are under the age of 21. An infraction will not result in jail time, but will require you to pay court fines and fees, take a DUI class if you are over 18 years old at the time of the offense, and your license will be suspended for one year.

  2. California Vehicle Code § 23140: Underage driving with BAC of 0.05% or greater
    In addition to penalties imposed by zero tolerance laws, California Vehicle Code § 23140, often referred to as "underage DUI", makes it an infraction for any minor to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or higher. An infraction will not result in jail time, but will require you to pay court fines and fees, take a DUI class if you are over 18 years old at the time of the offense, and your license will be suspended for one year.

  3. California Vehicle Code § 23152: Driving while actually impaired or BAC 0.08% or greater
    This is the standard DUI charge that adults also receive. A driver of any age may be charged with driving under the influence. You may be charged under either Section 23152(a) or Section 23152(b). These charges require that the district attorney prove you were (1) driving; and (2) while driving, you were driving under the influence or with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater.

    If you are convicted of either a 23152(a) or 23152(b), you will be required to do a DUI program, your license will be suspended, you will be facing jail time that can sometimes be done through a community work program. For more information on a standard DUI, please see our DUI section.

  4. California Vehicle Code § 23224: Possession of alcohol in vehicle by person under 21
    In addition to driving under the influence charges, a minor may also be charged with possession of alcohol in their vehicle. If you are under the age of 21, you may not drive a vehicle if you or your passengers are carrying an alcoholic beverage or knowingly possess an alcoholic beverage while in your vehicle. You are permitted to have alcohol in your vehicle only if you are accompanied by your parent or legal guardian, or you are working for someone with a liquor license and are carrying the alcohol for employment purposes during the course of your employment.

    A violation of Section 23224 is a misdemeanor and is punishable by:

    • Fine up to $1,000
    • Imprisonment in county jail for no more than six months
    • Both fine and jail time

Our defense lawyers at Hamasaki Law will guide you through the process from the moment we are contacted until your matter is resolved. Our lawyers will take the time explaining your various options, and we will work together to determine the best approach to fighting your case. Contact us now to discuss your case and let us help you through the process.

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