If you are a parent of a teenager, you probably don’t question the
fact that it’s illegal for drivers under 21 to drink and drive.
After all, you can probably vividly recall some of the foolish things
that you or your friends did when you were in high school. Most of us
On the other hand, if you’re
under 21, you might ask, “Why is the legal drinking age 21?” You might
have even been bothered by the fact that if you’re 18, you’re
old enough to fight for our country, but you’re not old enough to
drink. What gives?
Well, there is a reason why the legal drinking age was raised to 21, and
according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD), over 25,000 lives have
been spared thanks to 21 being the minimum drinking age in the United States.
Since this law was enacted it has prevented a great number of tragedies,
and according to MAAD, it’s reduced the number of drunk driving
crashes by roughly 16 percent, and it’s kept many young drivers
from making life-altering mistakes.
Teens Have Trouble Knowing When to Stop
Why are Americans forced to wait until they are 21 to drink alcohol? Because,
research has proven that teenagers tend to take drinking too far, they
have difficulty knowing when it’s time to stop drinking, and they
binge drink more often than adults do.
Teens are also more prone to succumb to peer pressure – pressure
from friends encouraging them to drink more and in rapid succession. Adults
on the other hand are for the most part “over” that phase
in their lives; their friends don’t push them so hard to drink like teens do.
California’s Zero Tolerance Law
California has a zero tolerance law when it comes to underage drinking
and driving. That is, driving with any alcohol in your bloodstream if
you are under the age of 21 (the legal drinking age).
While the legal limit for drivers 21 and over is .08%, under California's
"zero tolerance" law, an individual under the age of 21 can
be arrested for
DUI if there is any measurable alcohol in their system.
The way law enforcement detects blood alcohol concentration is by way of
a chemical test (breath or blood test) – and these chemical tests
have a margin of error.
An under-21 driver could blow into one of these machines after having had
no alcohol and still the machine could register a slight BAC, especially
if they recently swigged mouthwash containing alcohol.
The breath tests have a larger margin of error than the blood tests, but
both have been shown to be flawed in the past. In recent years, news broke
of errors at the Orange County Crime Lab with their BAC testing procedures.
Many individuals arrested under suspicion of DUI and submitted to a chemical
test got inaccurate results back. Although the margin of error was slight,
it was enough to put some individuals over the legal limit when in fact
they were not.
If you are under the age of 21 and were arrested for DUI in Orange County,
your license was likely automatically suspended. This is an administrative
penalty through the DMV, however you also face criminal penalties.
Fight your underage DUI charges
with the help of an attorney at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. today!