California DUI law
Laws regarding minors, under the age of 21, and driving under the influence (DUI) offenses in the state of California are crystal clear. In fact, the California State Legislature has legislated a strict zero tolerance policy that requires the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to automatically suspend or revoke the driver's license of any person under the age of 21 who has been detained and/or arrested on DUI charges. This action by the DMV is automatic whether or not the person under the age of 21 submitted to a breath or blood chemical test resulting in a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.01 percent or greater or if the minor refused to submit to the breath or blood test.
DUI & teen drivers in Fresno
Being a teen driver in and around Fresno means that you fall into a special California licensing classification known as provisional licensees. Thus, teen drivers must comply with rules that define who can be in the vehicle with them while they are driving, as well as the times of day they may drive a motor vehicle. The zero tolerance aspects of state DUI laws are factored into this scenario, as well.
Penalties for a teen driver who is convicted of DUI in California
The zero tolerance provisions of California law make it clear that it's illegal for persons under the age of 21 to drive in and around Fresno with a BAC of 0.01 percent or higher. If a law enforcement officers stops your vehicle on the suspicion of DUI, your BAC will be submitted to chemical testing. If this is your first DUI offense, you will have your driver's license suspended for for a period of one year if:
- your BAC is determined to be 0.01 percent or higher,
- you refuse to submit to the BAC test, or
- you do not complete the BAC test.
Your first California DUI conviction as a person under the age of 21 will result in penalties at the time of sentencing such as:
- Losing your license for a year; and
- Being required to attend alcohol and drug education classes; and
- Significant fines, and
- A term in jail or some work alternative.
Fresno drivers who are under the age of 21 must also comply with laws regarding the possession of alcohol in their vehicle. Under California law, anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited to have alcoholic beverages in their vehicle unless the container is full, sealed and has not been opened. In addition, the underage driver is required to be with accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or be employed by a person who possesses an off-site liquor license. Should this law be violated it will result in the vehicle being impounded for a period of 30 days, plus fines up to $1,000 and a suspended driver's license for a period of one year.
As noted above, Fresno driver's will face significant consequences should they refuse to comply with a request by a law enforcement officer to submit to a blood or breath chemical test designed to determine the driver's BAC. This policy is enforced for drivers ages 16 and older. This policy is the result of the state's implied consent law. This law means that when you were issued a California driver's license you automatically consented to the testing the driver's BAC should the circumstances should that such a test would be prudent.
Technically, a driver may refuse to submit to the chemical testing, but a refusal may lead to longer driver's license suspension than if the driver had complied with the request.
Contact an attorney
If you are facing charges related to a first offense DUI, do not think that your only choice is to plead guilty. Take a moment to contact Terry A. Wapner and schedule a consultation in order to discuss the facts of your case and be advised of your options.