Los Angeles DUI Under 21 License Suspensions
For drivers who are under the age of 21, driving with any amount of alcohol in their system can result in a license suspension and also potential driving under the influence charges in court. The California legislature has imposed additional penalties on drivers who are not legally allowed to drink but who are caught drinking and driving. These drivers can face both an administrative license suspension as well as a suspension based on what happens in court.
When an officer pulls over a vehicle driven by someone under the age of 21 and suspects the driver may be under the influence of alcohol, the driver will be required to provide a breath sample on the officer’s portable Preliminary Alcohol Sensor (“PAS”) device. For most drivers, the PAS test is optional; however drivers who are under 21 cannot legally refuse to take this test. If the PAS test shows that the driver has any amount of alcohol in his or her system, he or she will be cited. Drivers under the age of 21 can be cited if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01 or higher.
These drivers may not necessarily be arrested for DUI, however the officer may seize the minor’s driver’s license and provide notice of an impending license suspension. This suspension would start 30 days from the date of the incident unless the driver requests a hearing to challenge the suspension. The suspension for a first time violation of the 0.01 or higher standard for a driver under the age of 21 is a full year. The driver would not be able to obtain a restricted license during this year.Yearlong License Suspension
Under California Vehicle Code Section 23136 VC, any driver under 21 who has a BAC of 0.01 percent or higher would face a yearlong license suspension. At the driver’s administrative hearing, he or she would be able to testify and present evidence to the hearing officer assigned to adjudicate the case. The hearing officer is a DMV employee who is neither a judge nor an attorney.
Winning the Administrative Hearing
Where the BAC was extremely low, the driver may be able to argue that the PAS device was improperly calibrated or that his or her results were within an acceptable margin of error. In addition, the driver may be able to show how the presence of alcohol was attributed to another source, such as mouthwash or cough syrup. It may be necessary to present expert testimony at the DMV hearing in order to properly advance one of these defenses.
Even if the driver wins the administrative hearing, he or she could still lose his or her driving privileges as a result of what happens in court. Even if the driver is not charged with misdemeanor DUI, the matter could be calendared as an infraction for a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23140 VC, under 21 and driving with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.07 percent. If found guilty of this offense, the driver would have to pay a fine and would also have his or her license suspended for a year. The driver would have to complete an alcohol education program before he or she would be allowed to have his or her driving privileges reinstated.
If you or a loved one is under the age of 21 and has been cited for an alcohol related driving offense, it is crucial that you meet with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer immediately. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Attorney Michael Kraut understands the harsh penalties that apply to underage drivers and works hard to ensure his clients receive the best defense possible.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI and under 21 license suspensions, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.