When you are under 21 years old and pulled over for DUI, the penalties are vastly different than someone who is of a legal drinking age.
California's underage drinking and driving statutes are incredibly strict. If you are over 21, the legal limit is .08% or more in your breath or blood. However, underage drivers can have severe consequences any time their BAC is shown to be .01% or higher.
When you are pulled over by a police officer who suspects you of drinking, it is important not to do anything to incriminate yourself. However, unlike people over the age of 21, you don't have the same right to refuse a chemical test of your breath.
Part of maintaining driving privileges as an under-21 driver means that you consent to a breath test even before an arrest for DUI. If you refuse to breath into the breathalyzer device, you will have your license suspended automatically.
If you are stopped and your BAC is higher than .01%, you may be arrested and booked. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after you are arrested. There is a limited amount of time to save your driving privileges and help you prevent an underage DUI conviction from going on your record.
Keep in mind that because breathalyzer tests can detect molecules other than alcohol, there are many reasons that an underage driver might fail a breath test even without drinking. Talking to an experienced lawyer as soon as you can, while remaining silent with the police, is the best way to beat an underage DUI charge.
It isn't the end of the world if you are arrested for DUI, but it can get a lot worse. An experienced DUI attorney can help you after your arrest, whether or not you were drinking before your traffic stop.
Contact an experienced DUI attorney. Terry A. Wapner can help navigate an underage DUI towards the best possible outcome.