Underage DUI Penalties – License Suspension and Fines
When it comes to getting a DUI, underage drivers are easily at most risk for the most severe punishments available. While they might not spend years in jail for an offense, there are many more consequences that are far worse for young drivers, including license suspension, fines, and even probation. Typically, most states have a law that any driver caught driving with a certain BAC (blood alcohol content) is considered to be driving under the influence. This rule, however, doesn’t always apply to juveniles and underage DUI penalties will vary based on a number of factors.
In California, anyone under the age of 21 that has a BAC of 0.01% can be charged with a DUI. If the driver has a BAC of 0.05% or higher, they can receive an underage DUI charge and an adult DUI charge from the same infraction, making them subject to arrest and jail time. A driver under 18 that is convicted of a DUI in California loses their license for one year, or until their 18th birthday. Typically, the court chooses whichever penalty is greater. Vehicles can be impounded when underage drivers are caught and charged with a DUI, which is one of the most expensive underage DUI penalties available.
Fines are a large part of underage DUI penalties. Drivers will often have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, vehicle repossession, and for license reinstatement once they have completed their punishment. If a driver refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test, they will immediately have their license suspended for one year because refusal of testing is seen as an admission of guilt in most cases. Chemical testing submission is critical to proving sobriety in underage DUI cases. Subsequent refusals may result in greater underage DUI penalties, including license suspension for up to 3 years if the offense is repeated within a 10 year period.
Underage DUI penalties are handed out by the DMV and the criminal court system simultaneously. The DMV is responsible for revoking or suspending licenses according to their laws or the court’s ruling, while the criminal court is responsible for imposing fines, probation, jail time, and other punishment including substance abuse classes. Underage DUI penalties within the social world are far worse than criminal penalties. For example, in the state of California, DUI offenders who are underage when charged must list their DUI on their college applications. This may or may not affect the acceptance of a student, and carries a social stigma of irresponsible behavior. It’s always best to avoid the situation by not drinking and driving, but if you are being charged with an underage DUI, you need a qualified attorney to help you with your case.
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