San Diego DUI Law Center

Under 21 DUI laws

Under 21 DUI

California Vehicle Code 23152 – Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs

Anyone can face a California DUI, including people who are under the age of 21.

  • Punishment for a first-time California DUI misdemeanor conviction depends.

Penalties depend on:

(1) which San Diego California DUI criminal defense attorney you retain,
(2) facts in your DUI case,
(3) the prosecutor,
(4) the judge,
(5) your criminal history, if any,
(6) the prosecutor’s evidence and discovery proceedings,
(7) your lawyer’s investigation,
(8) which judicial district your case is assigned to, and
(9) the results of your attorney’s negotiations with the prosecutor.

San Diego DUI sentencing IF convicted of a first offense may include:

• Informal (summary) probation,
• Significant fines (which vary),
• No more than six months in jail,
• Court-approved alcohol program,
• A one hour MADD victim impact panel session,
• Public Work Service Program,
• Vehicle Impound,
• Ignition Interlock Device,
• A driver’s license suspension which may be converted into a restriction.

If you or a passenger who is also under 21 has alcohol in your car, you may be prosecuted for the California “possession of alcohol in a car” misdemeanor with possible penalties:

• A 1-30 day vehicle impound,
• A minimum one-year license suspension,
• Up to 6 months in a county jail, and/or
• Up to $1,000 apx. in fines.

California’s Zero Tolerance Law / Under 21 DUI Laws

California Vehicle Code 23136

If under 21 and driving in California with a BAC of 0.01% or greater, you may be subject to both court proceedings and administrative per se penalties under California’s “zero tolerance” DUI law.

In a .01% case, the issue is not whether you are “under the influence” of alcohol and/or drugs. A major issue is whether your BAC is .01% or more, i.e. whether it can be shown that you consumed said measurable amount of alcohol prior to driving. There are numerous other issues and sub-issues relating to the state’s ability to prove their case.

“Zero tolerance” usually means zero tolerance for having any alcohol in your system while driving.

  • This law declares that if you’re under 21 and suspected of DUI, you are deemed to have consented to (1) a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, or (2) any other blood, breath or urine test to determine your BAC.

If you submit to a chemical test and your BAC is 0.01% or greater, you possibly face:

  • A 1 year driver’s license suspension unless you prevail at DMV/Court, or
  • A 1 year delay of your driving privilege if you don’t yet have a California driver’s license.

If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you possible may receive:

  • A 1 to 2 year suspension, depending on how many prior convictions you have under this California zero tolerance law.

Your San Diego DUI/DMV defense attorney can contest this suspension by filing a request for a DMV hearing if done so within 10 days of your contact or detention.

California Vehicle Code 23140 Under 21 DUI – BAC of .05% to .07%

If you are under 21 years of age and determined by a court to have driven with a BAC of 0.05% – 0.07%, you face a charge under California Vehicle Code section 23140 VC. Punishment for this offense may increase with each subsequent conviction. You possibly face:

– Fines and other penalties (see above),
– Loss of California driver’s license for 1 year,
– Alcohol program before license can be reinstated, and
– Participation in a “Youthful Drunk Driving Visitation Program”. Participation in this program includes a visit to an emergency room, the coroner’s office, a chemical dependency recovery center, or similar to observe:

  1. Victims of DUI accidents, or
  2. People in the terminal stages of alcoholism or drug abuse.

– A California judge will often also order you to abstain:

  1. From drinking any alcohol until you are 21, and
  2. From using any illegal drugs.

For California DUI attorney information on how to Apply for a Critical Need Restriction, visit the latter part of this page.