If you’re under 21 and you were recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you may be wondering if you can get a restricted driver’s license so you can drive to work and school. That is a valid question and we will answer it below, but first we want to give you some facts and stats about underage DUIs in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
- 1 in 10 high school students drink and drive,
- Teens between the ages of 16 and 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a car accident when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% compared to when they have not been drinking, and
- When high school students age 16 and older were asked, they admitted to driving one or more times in the past 30 days while under the influence of alcohol.
What if you are found guilty of DUI, can you obtain a restricted license so you can drive to and from work and school? After all, most licensed teen drivers prefer to drive over walking miles to school or having to take the bus (if bussing is an option). Unfortunately, you are not eligible for a restricted license if you were under the age of 21 at the time of the DUI arrest and the DMV decides to suspend your license.
Why is the state so hard on young drivers? The laws regarding restricted licenses are stricter for young drivers because underage drinking and driving is such a serious problem. In light of the above, is there any way to keep your driver license at all? If you are under 21, the only way that you would be able to keep your driver license is if you were able to prevent the license suspension. In order to do this, you would have to:
- Apply for a DMV hearing within 10 days of your DUI arrest, and
- Avoid a DUI conviction in court.
To avoid a DUI conviction, you would have to win the DUI case or plead guilty to a lesser charge. A lesser charge could be something such as reckless driving. If you request a DMV hearing within the 10-day cutoff period, you can get a “stay” on the license suspension, which means you would be able to continue driving until the DMV hearing concludes, or until you are found guilty or not-guilty of DUI in court.
If you were recently arrested for underage DUI in Orange County, the best way to avoid a suspended license is to fight and win your DUI case. To get the aggressive defense representation you need and deserve, contact our office to work with a board-certified DUI specialist.