A DUI when you are under 21 is just brutal. In addition, to the normal charges that drivers get with driving under the influence, a person under 21 faces a year long license suspension.
Most persons under 21 need their drivers license. They commute to school. They have jobs. They will have a hard time without their drivers license.
The one year suspension also comes with some hurdles if you do want to eventually get a restricted license. This unintended consequence can impact a person under 21 who commutes to college, has a job, lives at home, etc. The key is to be proactive and call the Law Office of Mark Deniz as soon as possible for a free consultation at 858-751-4384.
"Baby Deuce" When You Are .05% And Under 21
A person under 21 can find themselves in trouble even if their blood alcohol is not .08%. If you are under 21 years of age and have a blood alcohol level of .05%, you can face what is commonly referred to as a "baby deuce". There is nothing baby about it, however. It can come with some unintended consequences in San Diego and the State of California. Attorney Mark Deniz can help you with this charge. It is tough because when a DUI attorney can establish the BAC is under .08% at the time they are looking at a dismissal. With someone under 21 years old they still are facing charges.
Vehicle Code 23140.
- ( a ) It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.
- ( b ) A person may be found to be in violation of subdivision ( a ) if the person was, at the time of driving, under the age of 21 years and under the influence of, or affected by, an alcoholic beverage regardless of whether a chemical test was made to determine that person's blood-alcohol concentration and if the trier of fact finds that the person had consumed an alcoholic beverage and was driving a vehicle while having a concentration of 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood.
- ( c ) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, upon a finding that a person has violated this section, the clerk of the court shall prepare within 10 days after the finding and immediately forward to the department an abstract of the record of the court in which the finding is made. That abstract shall be a public record and available for public inspection in the same manner as other records reported under Section 1803.
PAS Persons Under 21: Preliminary Alcohol Screening Device
Unlike a normal DUI, in a "baby deuce" case the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device can be the used as the primary chemical test. The PAS is the small hand held breath device that officers use out in the field.
Vehicle Code 23136.
- ( a ) Notwithstanding Sections 23152 and 23153, it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, to drive a vehicle. However, this section shall not be a bar to prosecution under Section 23152 or 23153 or any other provision of law.
- ( b ) A person shall be found to be in violation of subdivision (a) if the person was, at the time of driving, under the age of 21 years, and the trier of fact finds that the person had consumed an alcoholic beverage and was driving a vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test.
- ( c ) ( 1 ) Any person under the age of 21 years who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol in the person, if lawfully detained for an alleged violation of subdivision ( a ).
- ( 2 )The testing shall be incidental to a lawful detention and administered at the direction of a peace officer having reasonable cause to believe the person was driving a motor vehicle in violation of subdivision ( a ).
- ( 3 ) The person shall be told that his or her failure to submit to, or the failure to complete, a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test as requested will result in the suspension or revocation of the person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of one year to three years, as provided in Section 13353.1.
The state of California is a zero tolerance state which makes it illegal for persons under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .01 percent or higher. In addition, the law prohibits minors to be in possession of any open or closed alcohol containers in their vehicle.
In California, a person who is under the age of 21 and is caught driving with a B.A.C. at .01 percent level is considered drunk. The threshold for minors are substantially lower than those who are of the legal drinking age because of the significant number of traffic related accidents involving minors and alcohol in the state. As a result, the state has taken a tougher stance on drunk drivers who are under the age of 21 and so zero tolerance means just that, no tolerance of any alcohol or drugs found in a minor's body system at the time of driving.
Similar to DUI cases involving adults, a person under the age of 21 who has been caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs could have their driver's license suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) for a period of time. If your loved one has been arrested for violating drunk driving laws in this state, you will want to consult with a California DUI defense attorney immediately because one of the important factors the prosecutor and judge will consider is the B.A.C. level at the time of the arrest.
For example, if a person under the age of 21 is caught driving with a B.A.C. in the range of .05 - .07 percent for the first-time, there is a chance that the judge will order him or her to pay a $100 fine and suspend their driving privileges for a period of one-year. Unlike adult related DUI offenses, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an infraction instead of a felony or misdemeanor offense, unless the B.A.C. level was at .08 percent or higher as indicated by a breath or blood test. If minors or persons under the age of 21 are arrested for violating the California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), which makes it illegal to drive with a B.A.C. of .08 percent or higher, it will be a misdemeanor offense, subjecting the person to the customary penalties an adult in a similar situation.
What are the penalties if you are convicted for a DUI?
In California, the form of punishment imposed upon underage drinkers will depend on the B.A.C. level, prior DUI arresting history, and whether or not any aggravating circumstances were present. It is always best to speak with an attorney immediately after the arrest of a person under the age of 21 to learn about the possible penalties. In general, for first time underage DUI convictions with B.A.C. between .05 and .07 the possible penalties include a $100 fine, loss of license for a year, court-ordered treatment program, or court-ordered participation in youthful drunk driving visitation program. First and second convictions within this range are usually considered infractions, meaning there are no jail or prison sentences attached to the violation. However, as the number of convictions increase for an underage driver, so does the punishment, including confinement. Also, if a person under the age of 21 is caught driving at the .08 or higher threshold level, even for the first time, he or she could face jail and other harsh penalties.
It is also important to point out that refusing to submit to chemical testing, such as breath or blood tests could also result in an automatic one-year license suspension in California. Moreover, minors, under the age of 21, whether or not they are passengers in a vehicle and are found to be in possession of alcohol in a car, could face fines up to $1,000, up to six months in a county jail, a minimum one-year license suspension, or impoundment of the vehicle for a period of 1 day up to 30 days.
There is ways to get back on the road sooner. The key is to defend your case and have everything in order at the right time to get someone back on the road. There is quite a few hoops to jump through (as with any DUI) that need to be in order.
What are some of the San Diego DUI defenses you can use?
As with every situation, there are ways to challenge the drunk driving charge in court to either have the charges dismissed or enter a plea with less severe penalties. Ordinarily, defendants in a California under the age of 21 DUI case have a wide range of defenses available to challenge their charge and their case is either dropped or the charges reduced.
Attorney Mark Deniz is happy to discuss the best legal options to fight a DUI conviction for a minor, or a person under the age of 21. He was a prosecutor for 10 years and knows how to get good results for his clients. Some common defenses include: law enforcement errors, faulty breathalyzer tests, and inaccurate blood test equipment. In addition, there are always potential constitutional issues implicated in these situations, such as unreasonable searches and seizures.
San Diego Underage DUI Defense at the Law Office of Mark Deniz, APLC
If you were under 21 years of age at the time of being detained or arrested and you refused or failed to complete a PAS test or other chemical test:
- A first offense will result in a 1-year suspension.
- A second offense within 10 years will result in a 2-year revocation.
- A third or subsequent offense within 10 years will result in a 3-year revocation.
Contact the Law Office of Mark Deniz now for a free case evaluation at 858-751-4384.