When you are under the age of 21 and you have been arrested and charged for allegedly driving under the influence, you might wonder if you will be allowed to get a restricted driver’s license in order to drive to your job or your school. Understanding restricted licenses and the rules that apply to them is important. It is also important that you understand the statistics about underage DUIs so you can understand why they are treated so harshly by the courts.

Statistics for underage DUIs
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, an estimated 10 percent of students in high school drive after they have been drinking. When they are compared with times when they have not been drinking any alcohol, teenagers who are between the ages of 16 to 20 have a 17 times greater likelihood of dying in car accidents when their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent. In a survey conducted with students age 16 and older, the teenagers admitted to having driven after drinking at least once in the previous 30 days.

Restricted licenses for minors
Because the law treats underage DUIs very seriously, the state does not allow those who are under the age of 21 at the time of the offense to get a restricted license to drive. If the California Department of Motor Vehicles decides to suspend your license, you will not be able to drive during the period of suspension. Laws concerning underage DUIs and restricted licenses in California are much stricter because of how serious the problem of underage drinking and driving is in the state.

A possible way to keep your driver’s license
If you are a minor, you’ll have to approach the problem of your driver’s license by trying to keep it from being suspended in the first place. You will want to contact Scott Henry, who is the leading DUI defense attorney in Riverside, San Bernadino and Orange County immediately after your arrest and charging. This is because you will need to do all of the following:

  • Request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles no later than 10 days after your arrest; and
  • Avoid being convicted of a DUI in court by winning at trial; or
  • Avoid being convicted of drunk driving by negotiating a plea to a lesser offense, such as reckless driving.

When your criminal defense lawyer requests a DMV hearing on your license within 10 days, the DMV will grant a stay to you on your suspension. A stay means that you are allowed to continue driving until your hearing or court conviction. A conviction for driving under the influence in court will suspend your license even if you win your hearing at the DMV, which is important for you to understand.

When you are arrested for drunk driving as a minor in southern California, it is very important that you get legal help immediately from a criminal defense attorney who is experienced with defending against such charges. Your lawyer can then request the hearing for you and help you to fight your case to try to prevent you from being convicted of driving under the influence. We are the leading DUI defense law firm in Riverside, San Bernadino and Orange County, and we ask you to call us today for the help you need.