Underage Drinking and Driving
Underage drinking is a nationwide problem and presents direct challenges for parents, high schools, and universities. An even more prevalent issue is underage drinking and driving. The Center for Disease Control, based on a national survey conducted in 2013, reported that 22% of teens participating in the survey admitted to riding in a vehicle with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. Of the teens surveyed, 10% of reported driving after drinking alcohol. There are thousands of arrests made each year for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. If you are under the age of 21 and have been charged with a DUI, you need a Santa Rosa DUI lawyer to discuss the possible consequences, as there are many differences between drinking and driving and underage drinking and driving.
To determine whether an individual is under the influence of alcohol, an officer will measure the individual’s blood alcohol content. Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the measure of alcohol present in an individual’s blood. A person under the age of 21 may be arrested for driving under the influence if his or her BAC includes any detectable alcohol. This is far lower than the .08 limit for individuals over the age of 21.
In addition, there are different charges that underage drivers can face when arrested on suspicion of DUI, based on the actual BAC of the driver, there is one charge for driving with a BAC of .01% or greater, .05% or greater, and over .08%. Separate charges can also be file for possession of alcohol and enhanced charged if this conduct leads to injury to another.
The penalties imposed for DUI will depend on whether there are any prior offenses. Penalties imposed may include fines, the requirement of community service, completion of a DUI alcohol program, the requirement to undergo a clinical evaluation, or even a period of incarceration.
Specific laws were enacted to outline special procedures for punishing individuals who obtain a DUI while under the age of 21. One important aspect of drinking and driving under 21 is that it may trigger a one year driver’s license suspension. This can apply even if one is not drunk, because the alcohol can enter the system from non-traditional sources. There is a “zero tolerance” policy for those under 21 years old, and so even medicine or other sources that contain alcohol can trigger a DUI penalty.
In other words, even with the best of intentions you can find yourself or a loved one facing a serious criminal charges that could have long-term ramifications. In these cases, be sure to put your best foot forward in defending against the charges and/or minimizing the impact.
Underage Drinking and Driving – Get Legal Help
If you have been charged with underage drinking and driving in Santa Rosa, Petaluma or in nearby Mendocino or Lake County California, it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney. The law firm of Beck Law P.C., is experienced on the laws relating to DUI and is here to advise you about the possible impacts of a DUI conviction in California. Reach out to our team today for tailored guidance.