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Critical Need Exception for San Diego DUI drivers under 21

| Oct 4, 2015 | Firm News |


Making sure you can either avoid or lessen a driving suspension is a big part of a San Diego DUI defense.  Navigating your licensing through the DMV and the criminal case is yet another reason to obtain quality proactive representation.

California employs a zero tolerance policy where persons under the age of 21 may not drink and drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. This means that a reading as low as .01 BAC will result in the person facing a one-year suspension of his or her license from the DMV and court. Unlike a regular DUI, these under age DUI’s do not receive the option of a restricted license with the same ease. Instead, someone guilty of an underage DUI will have to seek a restricted license in the form of a “critical need restricted license.”

Critical need restricted licenses permit the person to drive to and from school, for family illness to transport the family member to and from the doctor’s office or other medical facility, to go to and from work, or for some other family business purpose which is the source of the family’s income. In addition to inquiring as to why the restricted license is being sought, and whether there is a critical need, the DMV will inquire into whether there is public transportation available and if it is inadequate.  It is a situation that must be addressed and explained.  For example, there may be someone who has a part time job in Pacific Beach and goes to school.  A map may show these locations are within reasonable distance of public transportation.  However, the DMV needs to have a thorough explanation that the job and school could not be done with public transportation.  The connections and such of using public transportation would not allow someone the time to get to both places.

To apply for the critical need restricted license, the person must be legally present in California, must have submitted-without refusal-to the blood or breath test required by peace officer to determine alcohol level at arrest, and must fill out the DS 694, entitled “Application for Critical Need Restriction.”

The application requires that the person check the boxes for the reasons why license is sought, a description of the transportation needs, such as the distance from the residence and route that will be taken to the destinations needed. Other drivers in the household will have to be listed and the reasons why they cannot provide transportation to the individual seeking the restricted license. Additionally, the statement of facts will need to be filled out by the family member who is unable to drive, the principal or dean at the school, or the employer. This is key because it has to be filed out by the client (and usually their faamily). 

The key in these cases is to be proactive.  If you want more information on under 21 DUIs, we have some good information on our website.  I recommend calling 858-751-4384 for a free consultation.  

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