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How a Birthday Affects an Underage DUI

Were you arrested for an underage DUI in Orange County? Is the big “18th” birthday around the corner and will you be 18 – a legal adult before your hearing or trial? Will being 18 change the outcome of your DUI proceedings?

First, let’s take a look at California’s underage drinking and driving law. California has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to people under 21 drinking and driving.

While it’s illegal for drivers age 21 and over to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or above in California, if you’re under 21 – you can’t drive with any detectable alcohol in your system – big difference.

California’s Mandatory One-Year License Suspension

Under California law, if you’re under 21 and you’re caught with any alcohol in your system, you can automatically lose your driver’s license for one year, no questions asked.

This means that you can be convicted of DUI even if you only had one drink. If you are convicted of DUI, depending on your BAC and your history, you could face:

  • Fines
  • Incarceration
  • Mandatory DUI school
  • Up to 5 years’ probation

Does being 18 change anything?

Since you will no longer be a juvenile when it comes time to face your DUI charges, will being 18 change anything? Being 18 will not change anything; you will still be prosecuted in juvenile court because you were a minor at the time of your arrest.

You are possibly facing a one year zero tolerance driver’s license suspension and being on juvenile probation, which is a lot like having another parent in your life. The DMV however, will have to wait until you have a DUI conviction before it can impose the one year license suspension.

In under 21 DUI cases, it’s the age at the time of the arrest that determines how DUI charges are treated, thus your DUI will be processed in the juvenile court system. If you’ve been arrested for DUI, the best thing for you to do is hire a defense attorney and fight to avoid a conviction in the first place.

To work with a Board Certified DUI specialist, contact an Orange County DUI lawyer from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. today!