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DUI Laws for Underage Drivers in California: Know Your Rights

Title: Understanding Underage Drinking and Driving Laws in CaliforniaUnderage drinking and driving is a serious offense with severe consequences in California. As a responsible citizen, it is crucial to be aware of the legal definitions, penalties, and rights associated with this offense.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the law surrounding underage drinking and driving in California.

Legal Definition of Underage Drinking and Driving under VC 23136

Prohibition and Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

It is important to note that California has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. Under Vehicle Code 23136 VC, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 percent or higher.

This means even a small amount of alcohol can result in legal consequences for underage drivers.

Measurement of BAC

To determine an individual’s BAC, law enforcement officers use a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test. This portable breath test can be administered roadside.

Refusing to take the PAS test can result in a one-year suspension of the underage driver’s license. It is essential to understand that this PAS test is separate from the chemical test performed at the police station after an arrest.

Penalties for Violating California’s “Zero Tolerance” Under-21 DUI Law

Civil Offense and DMV Suspension

Violating California’s zero-tolerance law for underage drinking and driving is considered a civil offense. If convicted, the underage driver’s license will be suspended according to administrative “per se” suspension laws.

The length of the suspension depends on the number of prior offenses within the past ten years:

– First offense: one-year suspension

– Second offense: two-year suspension

– Third offense: three-year suspension

Requesting a DMV Hearing and Restricted Hardship License

After an administrative suspension, an underage driver has the right to request a DMV hearing to contest the suspension. It is essential to act quickly, as there is a limited window of time to request this hearing.

If the suspension is upheld, the underage driver may be eligible for a restricted hardship license. This type of license allows limited driving privileges for specific purposes, such as attending school or work.

Additional Facts about California’s Underage Drinking and Driving Laws:

– Underage drivers are subject to the same penalties as adults if their BAC is 0.08 percent or higher. – It is illegal for an underage individual to possess alcohol in a vehicle, even if they are not driving.

– Regardless of whether an underage driver is impaired, penalties for possessing alcohol in a vehicle can still apply. – If an underage driver is involved in a collision resulting in injury or death, they can face additional charges and penalties.

Key Takeaways:

1. Underage drinking and driving with a BAC of 0.01 percent or higher is prohibited under VC 23136.

2. Refusing the PAS test can lead to the suspension of a driver’s license for one year.

3. Violating California’s zero-tolerance law results in administrative “per se” suspension of the underage driver’s license.

4. Requesting a DMV hearing can provide an opportunity to contest the license suspension.

5. Restricted hardship licenses may be available for underage drivers to fulfill specific obligations, like school or work.

In Conclusion,

Understanding the legalities and consequences of underage drinking and driving in California is vital to ensure personal safety and legal compliance. By familiarizing ourselves with the law, we can contribute to a safer community.

Remember, it is always best to choose non-alcoholic alternatives when driving as an underage individual. Stay responsible, not only for yourself but also for others on the road.

Fighting DMV License Suspension under VC 23136

Requesting a DMV Hearing and Representation

If your driver’s license is suspended due to an underage drinking and driving violation under VC 23136, you have the right to request a DMV hearing to contest the suspension. It is crucial to act promptly, as there is a limited window of time to make this request.

At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present evidence and argue against the suspension. It is advisable to seek representation from an experienced attorney who specializes in DUI cases.

Hiring an attorney can significantly increase your chances of success in fighting the license suspension. An attorney can guide you through the hearing process, help gather evidence, and construct a strong case on your behalf.

During the hearing, the DMV will consider factors such as the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of the PAS or chemical test, and any other relevant evidence presented. Your attorney will argue on your behalf, highlighting any discrepancies or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

A successful outcome at the DMV hearing can lead to the preservation of your driving privileges. Reinstating Driver’s License after Underage DUI

If you have had your driver’s license suspended due to an underage DUI violation under VC 23136, there are steps you must take to reinstate your license once the suspension period has ended.

To reinstate your license, you will need to:

1. Serve the suspension period: Ensure that you comply with the specified suspension period.

It is essential to refrain from driving during this time, as driving with a suspended license can lead to further legal consequences. 2.

Complete an alcohol education or treatment program: In many cases, the DMV will require you to complete an alcohol education or treatment program before reinstating your license. This program is designed to educate and help individuals make responsible choices regarding alcohol consumption.

3. Pay a reissue fee: To reinstate your license, you will need to pay a reissue fee to the DMV.

The fee amount may vary, so it is advisable to check with the DMV for the most accurate information. 4.

Provide proof of financial responsibility: Before your license can be reinstated, you must demonstrate proof of financial responsibility. This typically involves obtaining an SR-22 form from your insurance company, which certifies that you have the required liability insurance coverage.

Remember, reinstating your license is not an automatic process. It is essential to follow all necessary steps and provide the required documentation to the DMV to ensure a smooth reinstatement process.

VC 23136 and Related Offenses

VC 23140 Underage DUI with BAC of 0.05 or Above

Apart from VC 23136, there are other related offenses that underage drivers should be aware of. One such offense is underage DUI with a BAC of 0.05 percent or above, which is covered under VC 23140.

While VC 23136 focuses on zero tolerance for underage drivers, VC 23140 applies when an underage driver’s BAC is between 0.05 percent and 0.07 percent. Under VC 23140, an underage DUI is considered an infraction rather than a misdemeanor.

However, the penalties can still be serious. If convicted, the underage driver may face a one-year suspension of their driver’s license, a fine, mandatory completion of an alcohol education or treatment program, and potential probation.

VC 23152 Standard (“Adult”) DUI

VC 23152 addresses standard DUI offenses in California, applicable to drivers of legal drinking age (over 21). Any driver, regardless of age, can be charged with VC 23152 if their BAC is 0.08 percent or higher.

Unlike VC 23136, which is a civil offense, VC 23152 is a criminal offense. A standard DUI under VC 23152 can have severe consequences.

The penalties may include license suspension, fines, mandatory alcohol education programs, probation, and even possible jail time, depending on the circumstances. It is crucial to understand that the legal limits for BAC differ for underage drivers (0.01 percent or higher) and drivers over 21 (0.08 percent or higher).

VC 23224 Underage Possession of Alcohol in a Vehicle

Furthermore, it is essential to be aware that it is illegal for an underage individual to possess alcohol in a vehicle, even if they are not driving. This offense is covered under VC 23224.

Possessing an alcoholic beverage in a vehicle as an underage individual, whether the vehicle is in motion or not, can have serious consequences. VC 23224 is a misdemeanor offense, and if convicted, the underage individual may face penalties including fines, mandatory alcohol education programs, community service, probation, and potential license suspension.

It is important to note that the penalties for possessing alcohol in a vehicle can still apply even if the underage individual is not impaired or it is their first offense. Key Takeaways:

1.

Requesting a DMV hearing and obtaining legal representation can help in fighting license suspension. 2.

Reinstating a driver’s license after underage DUI involves serving the suspension period, completing an alcohol education program, paying a reissue fee, and providing proof of financial responsibility. 3.

VC 23140 covers underage DUI with a BAC between 0.05 percent and 0.07 percent, resulting in infraction penalties. 4.

VC 23152 applies to standard DUI offenses for drivers over 21 with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. 5.

VC 23224 makes it illegal for an underage individual to possess alcohol in a vehicle, even if they are not driving. In conclusion,

Understanding the intricacies of underage drinking and driving laws in California is crucial for all individuals, both underage and of legal drinking age.

By being aware of the legal definitions, penalties, and rights associated with these offenses, we can strive to make responsible choices and contribute to safer roads for everyone. Always remember to prioritize safety and make smart decisions when it comes to drinking and driving.

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