If you are under the age of 21, the federal statues mandate that you cannot purchase or drink alcohol in any capacity. While these laws are strictly enforced, there are many times that youth are able to get their hands on alcoholic beverages despite their age. In order to help fight underage drinking and to keep the youth of America safe on the roads, the United States has initiated a zero tolerance policy regarding teens and drunk driving.
The Zero Tolerance Policy
In California, the DUI BAC limit is set at 0.08% for most drivers. This means that individuals can drink and drive as long as they don't consume an amount of alcohol that surpasses this legal limit. The amount of alcohol it takes to reach a BAC of 0.08% is dependent on the person.
When it comes to youth under the age of 21, the 0.08% BAC level doesn't apply. Instead, the U.S. government has issued a blanket requirement that teens be arrested and prosecuted for a DUI if they have any trace of alcohol in their system. This means a driver with 0.01% of alcohol in his or her system can be prosecuted just like an of-age driver with a 0.08% BAC.
Penalties for Underage Drunk Driving
If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol and are under 21, you will face the same DUI penalties as an adult charged of the crime if you are over the age of 18.
These penalties include:
- 4 days to six months of prison time
- A fine from $1,400 to $2,600
- License suspension for 30 days to 10 months
If you are under 18, you may be tried as a juvenile in juvenile court and experience different penalties such as rehabilitative classes and community service.
Insurance for Underage DUI Drivers
If you are convicted of a DUI when you are underage, some insurance policies may see it necessary to terminate your policy. Other insurance companies will refuse to renew a policy for an underage DUI convict. Most companies will raise the monthly premium for insurance by $100 or $200 to accommodate for the higher risk of the driver. These higher rates will normally persist for about five years.
If you want more information about underage DUI cases in Santa Ana, or are looking for a trusted defense team to help you with your charges, call Darwish Law today for a free consultation.