A DUI at any age is a big deal. Did you know it can result in thousands of dollars in fines, special insurance that cost substantially more, and even jail time?
If you get a DUI while under 21, however, you will typically face even stiffer penalties, as not only are you drinking and driving, but you’re also drinking underage.
Want to learn more about the consequences of a DUI under 21? Read on.
What Does the Law Say?
Each state has different laws pertaining to DUIs. California, for example, considers someone to be driving under the influence when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08%.
For drivers under the age of 21, however, California has a “zero tolerance” policy. This means that if you have any alcohol in your system, you can receive a DUI. A BAC of 0.01% is sufficient for a DUI if you are under the age of 21.
As your BAC increases, the penalties get stiffer for those who are underage.
Penalties for Underage Drinking and Driving
If you are under 21 and you have a BAC of 0.01% or higher, you can be charged with DUI in California. You will lose your license for one year, but lucky for you, you won’t face jail time or have a DUI on your record.
If your BAC rises to 0.05% or higher, you are facing a license suspension of one year, a $100 fines, and a court order to attend and pay for a 3-month long DUI course. You’ll also have a DUI on your record.
Once you hit the 0.08% threshold, you are subject to the same penalties as adults. This could include thousands of dollars in fines and court fees, a 6-month jail sentence (or juvenile detention, depending on your age), a DUI course, loss of your license, and probation.
As a driver under the age of 21, you can also face charges of underage drinking in addition to your DUI charges. Penalties for an underage drinking offense include fines, community service, loss of your license, and potentially jail time.
If you are a repeat offender, the penalties increase. These penalties could be in addition to the penalties you are facing for the DUI.
This is all to say that you are going to face serious punishment if you are caught drinking and driving while under the age of 21, regardless of what state you are in.
What to Do After a DUI
The most important thing you can do after getting arrested and charged with driving under the influence is to find a DUI lawyer, especially if you have repeat offenses.
An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the criminal justice system, craft a successful defense, and negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf.
DUI Under 21: The Penalties Are Stiff
You won’t just get a slap on the wrist if you get a DUI under 21. An underage DUI means you face serious consequences, both financial and personal. Jail time, probation, and the inability to drive due to a license suspension are all potential punishments.
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