California “Zero-Tolerance” Law
California has zero-tolerance when it comes to underage drinking and driving. California’s “Zero-Tolerance” law makes it illegal for a driver, under the age of 21, to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or higher. Essentially, this means that a driver, under the age of 21, cannot legally drink alcohol in the first place, thus they cannot consume any amount of alcohol and then operate a vehicle without it being against the law.
Unlike the BAC for those over 21 and operating a vehicle, which is 0.08%, operating a vehicle under the California “Zero-Tolerance” law means that an individual cannot even consume a single beer without violating this law and facing serious consequences.
Underage DUI Penalties
Under California’s “Zero-Tolerance” law, if a driver, under the age of 21, is caught in violation of the law, that person’s license is automatically suspended for a year. To be in violation of the “Zero-Tolerance” law, one must:
- Be under the age of 21
- Drive with a BAC of 0.01% of higher
- Refuse to take the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test roadside during the DUI stop
A conviction under the California “Zero-Tolerance” law carries up to $250 in fines and a minimum of one-year license suspension.
On top of the immediate consequences that follow a violation under the California “Zero-Tolerance” law, there are long-term consequences that underage drivers have to endure. Some of these consequences can affect the individual’s education, insurance, and employment to name a few. In terms of education, an underage DUI conviction can appear on an individual’s permanent record. On an individual’s permanent record, a DUI becomes available information to schools, potentially affecting college acceptance decisions. Regarding insurance, with an underage DUI conviction on their record, an individual’s insurance rates could increase significantly. Lastly, having a DUI on your record, underage or not, puts limitations on future employment. Occupations including driving roles and certain healthcare positions are no longer an option.
Vehicle Code 23224 CVC
Vehicle Code 23224 CVC makes it illegal for an individual, under the age of 21, to operate a motor vehicle containing any contents of alcohol. A violation of Vehicle Code 23224 CVC is classified as a misdemeanor. This means a violation is punishable by up to six months in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Vehicle Code 23224 CVC extends to passengers as well. This also makes it illegal for a passenger, under the age of 21, to be in possession of alcohol in a vehicle.
However, the law does permit those under the age of 21, to transport alcohol under certain circumstances. These circumstances revolve around work purposes and/or under the supervision and/or acting at the request of an adult.
Find a San Diego DUI Lawyer Near Me
Have you been charged with a DUI under the legal drinking age of 21? Contact a DUI specialist immediately. If you find yourself in the position of needing a dui attorney in the greater San Diego area, Rick Mueller, California DUI Lawyers Association Specialist, has a proven track record, to ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your unique situation.