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Underage DUI in California

In Orange County, California and throughout the rest of the nation, the legal drinking age is 21. That means that if you’re under 21, you can’t purchase alcohol, nor can you drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

For drivers 21 and older, they cannot legally drive with a .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or above. While someone who is 21 or older may be able to have a drink or two and get away with it, for someone under 21, they can’t even have one drink and drive thanks to California’s zero-tolerance law.

While some states set the threshold for underage drivers at .01%, that’s NOT the case in California.

Penalties for Underage DUI in California

If you are under 21 and are arrested for DUI, you face the following penalties:

First Underage DUI Offense

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Up to $2,600 fine
  • Up to 10 month driver’s license suspension

Second Underage DUI Offense

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to $2,800 fine
  • 2 years driver’s license suspension

What are the other consequences of a conviction?

If you are convicted of underage DUI in California, you will face other consequences. For example, your auto insurance carrier may terminate the policy after the underage DUI, whereas other companies may refuse to renew.

Or, if your insurance company decides to keep you, they’ll increase your monthly premium by $100 to $200 or more – ouch! What’s worse, this raise usually stays in effect for three to five years, which translates to thousands more in insurance costs. Can you or your parents afford it?

An underage DUI can impact a young person’s college education. Colleges generally require that applicants disclose their DUIs on college applications. A recent DUI can negatively affect an applicant’s ability to get into their college of choice, and it can lead to a denial of much-needed scholarships.

Additionally, a DUI can mean an applicant won’t be allowed to play on certain college sports teams, and if a student fails to disclose the DUI on a college application and the school later finds out about it, the student can be kicked out of the school.

Our Advice to Young Drivers

The consequences of an underage DUI are far-reaching and can have a huge impact on your financial and educational future, which leads us to one conclusion: it’s worth fighting your DUI.

If you are facing underage DUI charges, contact our office to speak with an Orange County DUI attorney. There are legal defenses available and you want to do everything you can to safeguard your future.