CA Vehicle Code 23136

DUI under 21 in California

DUI Under 21

Were You Arrested for a DUI Under 21?

California exercises a “zero tolerance” policy in regards to driving while under the influence of alcohol for people under 21.  This is largely to combat the high rate of deaths involving young, drunk teen drivers. Statistically you are twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle accident if you are under 21.

Depending on your blood alcohol concentration you could be charged with the following:

  • CA Vehicle Code 23136[1]: California’s Zero Tolerance Law (Civil Offense)
  • CA Vehicle Code 23140[1]: Under 21 with a BAC of 0.05% – 0.07% (Infraction)
  • CA Vehicle Code 23152[1]: Driving Under the Influence (Misdemeanor)

Your level of intoxication, your criminal history, and the details of the crime are the deciding factors in how the prosecutor will charge you.  If you are under 21 and have a blood alcohol concentration of even 0.01% while driving you will be charged with a crime.

Because California exercises a “zero tolerance” policy the punishments for each crime are harsh.

If you have recently been arrested for a DUI and are under 21, the single most important thing to do (other than hiring a criminal defense attorney) is to schedule your DMV driver’s license hearing.  You only have ten days to schedule the hearing after being arrested. For more information on this, please read our DMV driver’s license hearing article.

CA Vehicle Code 23136: California’s Zero Tolerance Law (Civil Offense)

If you are pulled over and submit to a chemical test and your blood alcohol concentration is 0.01% or greater you will be charged with CA Vehicle Code 23136 and could face:

  • An automatic one-year suspension on your driver’s license
  • A one-year hold on your driver’s license if you don’t have one yet

If you are pulled over and refuse to take a chemical test you could face:

  • A one- to three- year suspension on your driver’s license
  • Must note conviction on college and employment applications

CA Vehicle Code 23140: Under 21 with aBAC of 0.05% – 0.07% (Infraction)

If you are pulled over and submit to a chemical test and your blood alcohol concentration is 0.05% – 0.07% you will be charged with CA Vehicle Code 23140 and CA Vehicle Code 23136 and could face:

  • $100 penalty for your first offense
  • $200 penalty for your second offense
  • $300 for you third offense
  • An automatic one-year suspension on your driver’s license
  • Completion of an alcohol program for a minimum of three-months
  • Participation of a Youthful Drunk Driving Visitation Program
  • The judge will order that you must abstain from drinking or using drugs until you’re 21
  • Must note conviction on college and employment applications

CA Vehicle Code 23152: Driving Under the Influence (Misdemeanor)

If you are pulled over and submit to a chemical test and your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or greater you will be charged with CA Vehicle Code 23152, CA Vehicle Code 23140 and CA Vehicle Code 23136 and could face:

  • Three to five years of informal probation
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Up to one year in a county jail
  • Completion of an alcohol program for a minimum of three-months
  • Participation of a Youthful Drunk Driving Visitation Program
  • The judge will order that you must abstain from drinking or using drugs until you’re 21
  • An automatic one-year suspension on your driver’s license
  • Must note conviction on college and employment applications

Additionally, if you are pulled over and submit to a chemical test and your blood alcohol concentration is 0.01% or greater and there is alcohol in the car then you will also be charged with possession of alcohol in a car and could face:

  • Having your car impounded for up to 30 days
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Up to six months in a county jail
  • An automatic one-year suspension on your driver’s license

Prosecuting DUI Under 21

It’s obvious that California is strict in regards to persons under 21 driving while under the influence of alcohol and because of the “zero tolerance” law it is easy to prosecute.  It’s important to note that CA Vehicle Code 23136, California’s Zero Tolerance Law, is a civil offense and will be handled by the DMV.

The other two offenses CA Vehicle Code 23140 and CA Vehicle Code 23152 are criminal offenses and will be handled in the courts.

Defending DUI Under 21

There are a couple techniques that a skilled criminal defense attorney can use to have a DUI Under 21 case dropped or the charges reduced.  Your attorney will face a DUI Under 21 case just the same as he or she would approach any DUI case regardless of the defendant’s age.  Your attorney will make sure that all paperwork was filled out correctly, the machines that were used were working properly, any test administered was performed properly, etc.

Another technique that your criminal defense attorney will take is to make sure that the arresting officer had a reasonable suspicion to pull you over.  Officers need a valid suspicion to pull you over while driving, it’s not legal for them to pull you over for no reason.  If your attorney can prove that you were unjustifiably pulled over then there’s a chance that the case could be dropped.

Your criminal defense attorney can also use several techniques explained in full in our Field Sobriety Test article.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is being charged with violating a DUI law, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

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References

1 http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc23136.htm

2 http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc23140.htm

3 http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc23152.htm

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