Lawmakers in our state, in order to deter minors from underage drinking, have enacted a zero-tolerance law that says even if underage drivers don’t appear to be impaired, DUI charges are filed if there is even 0.01% alcohol content in the body. An Orange County underage DUI lawyer at The Law Offices of Scott Henry can help with your case.

These charges can carry with them not only immediate consequences but later costs as well and need to be taken seriously. By hiring our firm to defend your underage DUI charge, you will get all of the benefits of an experienced legal team that is 100% dedicated to DUI defense.

Our lead attorney, Mr. Henry, is rated on AVVO as 10/10, achieving the highest rating possible. AVVO provides an unbiased snapshot of each rated lawyer’s background and is developed by legal experts. It takes into consideration years in practice, disciplinary history, achievements, and industry recognition and is a high honor to achieve. We welcome you to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn how our legal team may be able to help you.

What Are California’s Underage DUI Laws?

It is illegal for someone under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol. While young people who violate these rules can face a variety of criminal charges, such as Minor in Possession of Alcohol, an underage DUI is one of the most serious and potentially life-changing charges.

As mentioned above, California imposes a zero tolerance law in underage DUI cases. In other words, if someone under the age of 21 drives a vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol, they could face criminal charges — even if their blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is significantly lower than the adult “legal limit.” However, the police cannot simply stop and search every young driver; they must have probable cause for their search and seizure and comply with our state’s procedures.

Penalties for Underage DUI in Orange County

Kids make mistakes. It is an unfortunate reality that even though parents warn their children against drinking and driving, a teenager will still make bad choices, sometimes ending in an arrest. Sadly, the impact from a few moments of poor judgment can be severe and long-lasting. California imposes strict penalties on young people who are convicted of a DUI. However, the penalties will vary depending on the individual’s specific charges and situation. A local attorney could determine what types of penalties an underage driver may be facing their DUI case.

BAC of 0.01%

In our state, drivers under age 21 who have just a 0.01% blood alcohol content (BAC) are guilty of a DUI and will face license suspension; if their BAC is 0.01% and they are under age 18, they will lose their license for a year, or until their 18th birthday.

In addition, a judge can confiscate the driver’s vehicle, order driving safety and drunk driving classes to be completed, insurance rates will dramatically go up, resulting in the total costs ranging in the thousands of dollars. However, these zero tolerance charges may not count as a criminal charge, meaning they will not register as a DUI on the young person’s criminal record.

BAC of 0.05%

If a young person is convicted of driving with at least a 0.05% BAC, it will be considered a criminal matter — and it will be noted on their criminal record. While the young person may not face jail time, they will lose their driver’s license for a year, must pay a series of fines and fees, and attend an intensive DUI education program.

BAC of 0.08%

When a young person is convicted of driving with a BAC that exceeds the adult legal limit they can face the same charges as any other drunk driver. The penalties can include incarceration, loss of their driver’s license, probation, extensive fines and penalties, installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, intensive education and substance abuse counseling, and strict probation terms.

Multiple, Repeat, or Aggravated Offenses

If an underage drinker commits multiple offenses or an aggravated offense, such as seriously injuring or killing someone in a drunk driving accident, they may face increased penalties. The authorities can stack or add on penalties under certain circumstances, making a conviction even more serious and life-changing.

Repeat offenders will also face increased penalties. If your child is underage and they are facing multiple charges or already have a DUI conviction, you need to act quickly and contact an experienced defense lawyer.

A little known consequence is that the offense must be listed on college applications which could affect admission and if already in college, the student may be penalized by the school. With all that is at stake, you need the services that we can provide with our 15 years of experience.

Fighting Underage DUI Charges

If you or your child are facing underage impaired driving charges, you may feel overwhelmed and afraid. However, with help from the right underage DUI attorney, you can regain control and build defenses. At The Law Offices of Scott Henry, we’ve helped many young people with underage drinking offenses, and we want to help.

In many ways, an underage DUI attorney in Orange County approaches their clients’ defenses like any other drunk driving matter. They must carefully consider the circumstances surrounding the young person’s arrest, whether the authorities followed the correct procedures, and evaluate the validity of the sobriety tests that were performed. Many times, this analysis is complicated and nuanced, but it is essential to your defense.

If you’re facing your first underage DUI, and you have an otherwise clean record and a bright future, a lawyer should weave this narrative into your defense. Sometimes, a prosecutor, judge, or jury, will be more lenient because they don’t want a single mistake to ruin a young person’s life. That’s why we spend time with our young clients and their families — we want to understand all of the factors that may contribute to your defenses.

Request a Confidential Meeting With an Orange County Underage DUI Attorney

Every drinking and driving case is different and unique. Rather than struggle with your defense alone, it’s in your best interest to retain an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the criminal justice system and negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf. Sometimes, an attorney can convince a prosecutor to reduce the criminal charges — or drop them altogether. An Orange County underage DUI lawyer can also help you build a stronger case to present to the jury if your case proceeds to trial.

If you’d like to understand your legal options and potential defenses, contact our office today. Our legal team understands the importance of a strong defense, and we treat these cases accordingly. We also understand how emotionally draining they can be, so we provide honest and practical advice to those charged with a crime and their trusted loved ones.

The Law Offices of Scott Henry focuses its practice on the art of DUI defense. We have built a strong reputation for our aggressive, compelling, and practical strategies and tactics. Please contact our firm for a strong and aggressive defense.

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