What Are the Penalties for Underage DUI?

Under California’s “zero tolerance” law, anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from consuming any amount of alcohol and driving. Teens and young adults are in violation of the law whenever they drink a drop of alcohol and climb behind the wheel. If an underage driver consumes alcohol and drives a motor vehicle, they face stiff penalties if they have any measurable amount of alcohol in their system.

Drivers 21 and over are legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, but for drivers under the age of 21, if their BAC is just .01%, their driver’s license will be suspended automatically, whereas an older driver with a similar BAC may be allowed to drive away without incident if their BAC is between .01% and .05%.


Anyone under 21-years-of-age with a BAC over .01% is considered to be driving under the influence. If the young driver has a BAC at or above .08% (the legal limit for adults), he or she would face the same penalties as an adult charged with DUI. Possible penalties for an underage DUI with .08% BAC or higher:

Aside from the legal penalties, a driver may also have their insurance drop their policy or increase the monthly premium by $100 or more.

Can an Underage DUI Affect College?

An underage DUI can affect a student’s ability to get into college or stay enrolled in a university. A DUI must be listed on college applications, which can affect a college's decision to admit the student. If a student receives a DUI while they are enrolled, they may also face any penalty that the school requires as well as legal ramifications. A DUI can also lead the denial of college scholarships and other funding.

An underage driver charged with a DUI faces strict and far-reaching consequences. For those that have been accused of DUI of alcohol or drugs while underage, having an aggressive DUI attorney can help prevent one mistake from following a person for the rest of their life.

Facing underage DUI charges? For the aggressive defense representation your situation demands, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc.

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