Zero Tolerance for Minors
Like many other states, California employs a "Zero Tolerance" law in regards to underage individuals and driving while intoxicated. It pertains to anyone that is under the legal drinking age of 21. A minor is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system. If they are found by law enforcement to have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of just 0.01%, while driving, they can be charged with DUI and face penalties that include drivers'
license suspension for up to one year or a year delay of the ability to drive for those that have yet to obtain their license.
Penalties for Underage Drinking and Driving
Should they be found with a BAC of 0.08% (the standard level in adult DUI cases), they can face typical DUI charges which can result in penalties such as probation, mandatory enrollment in an alcohol treatment program, community service, fines and incarceration. In such cases, the parents of the child may be held responsible for any fines that the child is levied following their conviction. Under the California Vehicle Code a minor with a BAC level between .05% to .07% will face an infraction in which the penalties will increase for each occurrence.
Driving with a BAC above this level can constitute a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in jail, $1,000 in fines, five years of probation, six month license suspension and alcohol classes. If your minor child has been charged with DUI, it is very important that you seek the help of a skilled attorney as soon as you are able to. If you secure legal representation immediately after your child's arrest, they may have a much stronger chance of a case resolution that sees their charges reduced or eliminated.