Under California's Zero Tolerance laws, a driver who is under the age of 21 with any measurable amount of alcohol in the body (testing above 0.01% by blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is in violation of the law. Under-21 drivers in Albany can face a suspended license for an underage DUI. If the driver has a higher BAC, he or she may face criminal charges.
Under 21 drivers are subject to more restrictive breath testing laws and lower BAC limits. This means that a defective breath test device can have a greater impact on a young driver's life than compared to over-21 drivers. Drivers under 21 have the right to a strong legal defense and should contact an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Roadside Breath Testing for Underage Drivers
Most drivers have the right to refuse to submit to a roadside breath test but drivers who are under 21 and suspected of being impaired by alcohol have to take the breath test. If a driver under 21 refuses a breath test, they can face a 1-year license suspension.
There are a number of reasons why an over-21 driver would want to refuse a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device test. These handheld breath testing machines give an estimate of the driver's BAC but these devices are not always accurate. Things like food, medicine, or medical issues can increase the BAC results.
If a driver is arrested for a DUI, the driver does have to submit to a chemical test (blood, urine, or breath). Refusing a chemical test can result in a suspended license, even if the driver is sober. But only drivers on probation for a DUI and drivers under-21 have to submit to the less accurate roadside breath tests.
Penalties for an Underage DUI in Berkeley
The penalties for an under-21 DUI will depend on a number of factors, including the specific offense, the driver's BAC, and if anyone was injured.
Zero Tolerance Violation (0.01% to less than 0.05%)
A zero-tolerance violation where the driver's BAC is under 0.01% generally results in a one-year license suspension. This is the lowest penalty for underage DUIs in California. One drink may be enough to put an individual over the zero-tolerance limit.
Under 21 DUI (0.05% to less than 0.08%)
Under California Vehicle Code 23140, it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 to have a BAC of 0.05% or to be found to be under the influence or affected by alcohol. The penalties for an underage DUI include a one-year license suspension, a fine, and an alcohol education course.
Blood alcohol levels vary, depending on a lot of factors, including weight and sex. Depending on the individual, one or two drinks may be enough to put the driver over the 0.05% limit.
Per Se DUI (0.08% or higher)
Any driver with a BAC of 0.08% or higher can be charged with a per se DUI, regardless of their age. A per se DUI considers a driver impaired with an over-the-limit chemical test result of 0.08% or higher, even if the driver is operating the vehicle with no problems and does not feel impaired.
The penalties for a first-offense DUI include:
- six-month license suspension or a one-year suspension if you are under 21,
- DUI school, and
- Up to six months in jail.
Aggravating factors can increase the penalties for a driver, including a DUI causing an injury, having a higher BAC (0.15% or higher), a DUI accident, or having a minor in the vehicle under the age of 14 at the time.
Automatic License Suspension After a DUI Arrest
Drivers only have 10 days after a DUI arrest to request a hearing to keep their license. During an arrest, the police will generally take your license and issue a temporary driving permit. This temporary license is only good for 30 days. However, you only have 10 days after the arrest to request a hearing with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to challenge the suspension.
The DMV hearing is separate from the criminal case. Talk to your California DUI lawyer about requesting a DMV administrative license suspension (APS) hearing to challenge the license suspension so you can keep your driving privileges after a DUI arrest.
DUI Arrests and Court Appearances for Berkeley and Albany DUIs
Drivers arrested in and around Albany may be arrested by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or the Albany Police Department. Most people arrested for a DUI are released within 24 hours. If a family member was arrested by the Albany Police Department, they may be processed or held at:
1000 San Pablo Ave
Albany, CA 94706
Phone: (510) 525-7300
or they may be transported to the Berkeley jail or Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, CA
Alameda County DUI cases are heard in courts located in Oakland, Dublin, and Fremont. If you have been arrested for DUI in Albany, your case may be handled at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, at:
661 Washington Street
Oakland, California 94607
East Bay DUI Attorney for Under-21 Drivers
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 35 years of DUI experience and understands the consequences for young drivers after a DUI arrest. Representing young drivers in Albany and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, and the local officers and prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.