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California Under-21 DUI Attorney

California has a zero-tolerance policy towards underage drinking and driving.  If a driver under the age of 21 has .01% or more BAC in their system, then they can be subjected to criminal and DMV penalties, depending on their blood alcohol level.  If you or someone you know has been charged with an under-21 DUI in Los Angeles County or Orange County, you need to call our office today to speak with a DUI defense attorney that is familiar with all the issues surrounding an underage DUI.

There are three California laws that cover underage DUIs:

*  Vehicle Code section 23136 – BAC .01% to .04%

*  Vehicle Code section 23140 – BAC .05% or more

*  Vehicle Code section 23152 – BAC .08% or more

Vehicle Code section 23136 & Vehicle Code section 23140

An underage driver with any alcohol in their system has violated one of these laws.  Both laws are only infractions which mean the maximum criminal penalty is a fine.  However, the DMV will issue one year driver’s license suspensions for violations of these laws, pursuant to Vehicle Code section 13202.5.  If you do not have a driver’s license, then the DMV will delay your opportunity to acquire a driver’s license by one year.

Vehicle Code section 23152 – BAC .08% or more

If your blood alcohol level is .08% or more, you can be charged with a regular DUI.  However, since you’re under the age of 21, you will lose your driver’s license for a year, as required by Vehicle Code section 13202.5, and the court may impose additional penalties beyond the normal DUI sentence.   It is possible to be charged with both Vehicle Code section 23140 and Vehicle Code section 23152.  The District Attorney’s office will often charge both crimes when an underage driver’s blood alcohol limit is .08% or higher.

DUI under 18 – Juvenile Offense

If you’re under the age of 18 and you are charged with DUI, then you will most likely be prosecuted in the juvenile courts.  The procedure in juvenile courts is different from adult courts.  Penalties for a juvenile DUI may be stiffer than for an adult DUI.  You need an attorney that is familiar with the prosecution and defense of all DUIs, including juvenile DUIs.

Other Consequences

In addition to the criminal and DMV penalties, there are other penalties that a minor faces when convicted of a DUI.  If convicted of an underage DUI, students have to list their conviction on college applications which could severely impact their admissions to college.  If a student is already in college, the school may impose additional penalties.  The consequences are worse if the student intends to go to graduate school.  Some professions such as doctors and lawyers require a criminal background check and this conviction may impact your ability to become a professional.  This is why it’s so important to speak with a reputable DUI defense lawyer who is familiar with underage DUIs.

The Right Lawyer

Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer will be the most important decision someone can make when facing an under-21 DUI charge.  Many people who face the charge of underage DUI are good people who made a mistake or exercised poor judgment.  There are also some people who have been wrongfully accused of DUI under 21, based on false evidence.  You need an attorney who will listen to your side of the story carefully, who will evaluate the evidence thoroughly, who will negotiate with the judge and the District Attorney’s office skillfully, and who will fight in trial aggressively.  You need an attorney like Fred Thiagarajah.

As a former Deputy District Attorney, Fred Thiagarajah has the negotiating skills and trial experience necessary to get the best results for his clients.  For an example of his work, please see his case results and read his client testimonials.  With offices in Newport Beach, Beverly Hills and Riverside, Fred Thiagarajah has criminal defense experience in Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside Counties.

Fred Thiagarajah – The Right Lawyer.  The Right Result.  The Right Choice.


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