Is There a Different BAC Limit for Underage Drivers in California?

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Is There a Different BAC Limit for Underage Drivers in California?

person opening a beer bottle behind the wheel

In many instances, teens and young adults under 21 will consume alcohol, whether it’s an act of rebellion, peer pressure, or the desire to fit in. While this is dangerous in and of itself, the risks drastically increase when these intoxicated underage drivers get behind the wheel of a car. Unfortunately, if they are involved in an accident, they can face severe injuries and criminal culpability. As such, drivers under 21 face different DUI laws. Keep reading to learn more and explore why you need a DUI lawyer in Sacramento, California, if you or your child are facing legal trouble.

What Should Underage Drivers Know About DUIs?

Across the nation, anyone with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher will face a DUI charge, as they are legally intoxicated. However, if your BAC is less than that but there is still a detectable amount of alcohol in your system, you display signs of intoxication, and your ability to operate a vehicle is impacted, you can still face a DUI charge.

However, underage drivers face very different standards. If you are under 21 in California, you can expect some of the most strict DUI laws in the country. Like most states, California has adopted a Zero Tolerance Policy law surrounding underage drunk driving. As such, any driver under 21 with a BAC higher than 0.01% will face a DUI charge. This is because the law acts as a deterrent to prevent those under 21 from making poor decisions.

What Penalties Will Someone Under 21 Face?

If someone under 21 is found behind the wheel with alcohol in their system, it will result in an automatic license suspension for one year. Additionally, an alcohol conviction will appear on your license.

Additionally, a driver with a BAC of 0.05% or higher will face criminal charges in court and may not receive driving privileges until they turn 21. Similarly, you’ll likely be court-ordered to attend drug or alcohol-driving classes.

Not only do you risk facing criminal consequences, but a DUI will also raise your insurance premiums for at least 13 years, which is the length they appear on a driving record. Similarly, if you lose your driving privileges, you can endure economic hardship, as you may be unable to get to and from work.

How Can an Attorney Help Me During These Times?

A DUI is not a charge taken lightly. As such, it’s imperative to enlist the help of an experienced attorney to guide you through this complex criminal process. Not only can they help you navigate the legal system, but an attorney can review the details of your case to determine if there are any potential defenses that can prove your innocence.

At the Law Offices of Dale R. Gomes, we understand how difficult facing criminal charges can be. That’s why our team is dedicated to doing everything possible to help you through these challenging times. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you by scheduling a free consultation with a member of our legal team.