DUI under 21 in California
A DUI under 21 in California requires special handling. Due to California’s “zero tolerance” rules for those under age, there is a mandatory suspension of all driving privileges. A restricted license is not automatic, like it is with those above age 21.
DUI under 21 in California – the law.
California’s Vehicle Code 23136 applies to anyone under the age of twenty-one (21) who drives with a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of .01% or greater.
VC 23136 is part of California’s “zero tolerance” law for anyone that is not supposed to be drinking anyway (being underage), and then being caught for DUI.
Someone under age 21 that is caught with any alcohol in their system will result in a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
DUI under 21 in California – proving alcohol in your system.
Even if you are not drinking alcohol, since medicines sometimes contain small amounts of alcohol, anything in your system if you are under 21 can be a problem.
Unlike adult DUI cases, a DUI under age 21 can be proven through a PAS device – a Preliminary Alcohol Screening device that can show the presence of alcohol. They are generally considered to be less accurate than the breath testing devices used for adult DUIs, but all they have to show is the presence of any alcohol.
DUI under 21 in California Defenses
The following defenses apply to adult, and underage DUI cases equally. But they can be used to fight an underage DUI case:
Underage DUI Defenses:
- The police didn’t have a valid reason to stop you;
- The underage person tested wasn’t the one driving;
- The person doing your DUI chemical test didn’t follow required procedures;
- You were within the margin of error for an acceptable BAC result;
- Your blood alcohol was still rising at the time of your test (meaning your BAC was actually lower when you were driving);
- There was alcohol in your mouth from another source (such as breath strips);
- You had a medical condition such as GERD or acid reflux;
- You were on an Atkins or ketogenic high protein / low carbohydrate diet, which causes acetones, a false positive for alcohol ;
- You are diabetic;
- Your traffic stop was unlawful;
- Your arrest was unlawful; and
- The DUI breath testing equipment wasn’t working properly;