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California DUI Under 21—Programs and Penalties

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Many California teenagers learn in driving school that a DUI applies to those with a BAC level of .08 or higher. But for a driver younger than the legal drinking age, any amount of alcohol that is detected in their system is also a DUI. If your teenager has been charged with an underage DUI, contact a qualified California DUI attorney today.

California Underage DUI Laws

It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 who has 0.05 percent or more of alcohol in their blood to drive a vehicle. Drivers under age 21 are subject to the same criminal penalties as older drivers—but there may be steeper consequences for young drivers, including automatic license suspension. If an underage driver refuses to consent to a breathalyzer test, his license can be revoked as well.

A driver under age 21 will also be subject to civil penalties by the Department of Motor Vehicles if their BAC level is 0.01 or higher. The penalty for underage drivers with a BAC level of .01 or more is a one year suspension of their driver’s license.

As the school year ends and summer approaches, many teenagers will be driving, and it is important to talk with your children about the consequences of drunk driving—especially the California Zero Tolerance under 21 laws.

Our Santa Rosa DUI lawyers know that parents in our community want to keep children safe. Of course, if you child faces one of these charges, it is vital to have experience legal help. In addition, it may be helpful for parents to be made aware of some of the programs offered to help keep teens safe this summer.

The Every 15 Minute Program

Teenagers tend to get a bad reputation—especially when talking about drunk driving. But many teenagers are actively involved with ensuring their friends and classmates are safe on the road. The Every 15 Minutes Program is a national project based on the statistic that once every 15 minutes someone dies as a direct result of drunk driving. The program portrays skits of drunk driving accidents, working with local police and fire departments to bring the realities of drunk driving to life. The program is offered in many California schools during the course of the year, and they can be contacted directly to schedule an orientation at your child’s school as well.

There are multiple other organization in California for teenagers to help them understand the dangers of drunk driving, including MADD. The website is also helpful and full of many tips for parents and students alike on issues ranging from drunk driving to distracted driving.

Talking About Drinking & Driving

It is always important to sit down with your teenager and discuss the consequences of drunk driving, including how to feel comfortable telling a friend they shouldn’t drive or refusing to get in the car with a friend that’s been drinking. It is important to let your child know that if they find themselves in a situation they can call you without fear—what is important is your child got home safely and called you for help instead of driving intoxicated or with an intoxicated driver.

However, for many reasons mistakes can be made and your child might be facing DUI charges. If your teenager has been charged with an underage DUI, it is imperative to contact a qualified Santa Rosa DUI attorney right away. Young drivers face severe consequences that may impact their college education, job opportunities, and their ability to drive. Contact us today.

See Related Blog Post:

California DUI Felony v. Misdemeanor

New DUI Legislation Introduced in California

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