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Underage DUI Information For Parents in Los Angeles

  • May 26, 2017

    It is not legal for individuals in the state of California to consume alcohol if they are under the age of 21. Highway statistics show that underage drinkers are responsible for a disproportionate number of fatalities involving vehicles. Should an underage person be caught driving under the influence (DUI) in California, their penalties will be harsher than those who are of legal drinking age.

    DUI Standards
    There is a zero-tolerance policy in California when it comes to underage DUI. According to California Vehicle Code 23136, should a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) be over .01 percent, they will be charged with DUI. This standard applies to any source of alcohol. It is possible for an individual to be charged with underage DUI if their BAC is over the legal limit due to taking medication containing alcohol and more. A person’s BAC will be confirmed with a chemical test after they are arrested. This could take place using a desktop breath test machine at a police station or by a DUI blood test.

    Punishment
    DUI is not considered a criminal offense. Should a person only be charged with underage DUI and nothing else, the penalty will be a twelve month suspension of their driver’s license by the California DMV. A first-time offender will be required to pay a fine of $100. Should a person be over the age of 18, they will be required to attend a mandatory alcohol education program. This could last up to three months or longer. It is recommended a person facing such punishment speak with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney. It’s important people realize they have a right to challenge their driver’s license being suspended at a hearing by the California DMV. An attorney may be able to handle the entire hearing on behalf of their client. It’s possible they can get the suspension reduced or cancelled.

    Restricted Hardship License
    In many situations, a person will still need to drive their vehicle to work or school during their suspension. Los Angeles DUI Lawyers will know how to help their clients get a restricted hardship license. This will make it possible for them to drive to their work, school or family business if they are unable to use any other type of transportation.

    Insurance Coverage
    It is possible for an insurance company to terminate coverage when a policyholder has an underage DUI. There are also companies that will refuse to renew a vehicle insurance policy once it expires. Many companies will raise the monthly premiums of a person’s policy if they are convicted of underage DUI. Insurance companies often increase the premiums by hundreds of dollars and provide only a high risk policy. This situation could remain in place for up to five years. Once a license suspension is over, a person will need to provide the DMV with an SR 22 certificate. This is a form that shows proof of insurability. Most insurance companies will provide this form to the DMV.

    Legal Defenses
    There are some common legal defenses for being charged with underage DUI. It’s possible the person wasn’t the one driving the vehicle or the equipment used to determine the DUI was not operating properly. Proper procedure was not followed during the DUI testing. There was alcohol in a person’s mouth from mouthwash or another source. There is a medical condition involved that causes a false positive test for alcohol. The traffic stop was unlawful. It’s also possible for an experienced attorney to make the case that the underage DUI was a foolish mistake based on youth and inexperience. They will state that dropping or reducing the charge will decrease its impact on a young person’s promising future.

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