A minor facing DUI allegations faces all the same consequences an adult may face. However, minors don’t necessarily have the same DUI defenses available to them. This is because a minor, under the age of 21 at the time of a DUI arrest, is subject to “zero tolerance” laws in California. This means that a minor cannot have ANY alcohol in his/her system, based on the results of a Chemical Test (blood or breath), or based on the results of a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test. If a minor achieves any kind of reading on either of these tests, they could face the same misdemeanor or felony charges an adult faces (VC 23152[a], VC 23152[b], VC 23153[a], and/or VC 23153[b]). In addition to these charges, a minor may face a charges of driving with a .05% or greater BAC, under VC 23140 – an infraction.
When it comes to the DUI defense, a potential plea that would help an adult is a charge reduction to a “wet reckless”. In the case of a minor, this does not help because it still requires a finding of guilty to having any alcohol in the individual’s system. Furthermore, even a successful reduction in charge to Public Intoxication, pursuant to Penal Code 647(f), will still results in the suspension of the minor’s driving privilege due to its categorization as an “alcohol related offense”. In either case, the minor’s license could be suspended for a minimum of one (1) year on a first offense DUI, Wet Reckless, or Public Intoxication conviction, with limited opportunity to obtain a restricted license.
Because of this, it is even more important for minors to obtain qualified representation by an experienced San Bernardino DUI lawyer in order to have a full and complete investigation of their case. Exploration of every possible defense, and close scrutiny and examination of every piece of evidence becomes even more critical to the DUI defense of of minors. For quality representation in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino County, contact the Legacy Counsel today.