Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal for anyone in California. However, drivers under the age of 21 are subject to more strict limits when it comes to drunk driving. Underage drivers may have to submit to chemical breath tests that are optional for over-21 drivers and the legal limit is much lower for underage drivers.
An underage DUI refers to a DUI where the driver is under the age of 21. Between the ages of 18 and 21, the driver is considered an adult and is subject to criminal court. Under the age of 18, the driver may be subject to juvenile justice or charged as an adult, depending on the circumstances.
Zero Tolerance for Alcohol for Under-21 Drivers
Like a lot of other states, California has a “zero tolerance” policy for drivers under the age of 21. An underage driver with any measurable amount of alcohol in the body (testing above 0.01% by blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is in violation of the law.
To put that in perspective, one beer is enough to put most people over the legal limit if the driver is under 21. Even half of a beer may be enough to trigger a zero-tolerance violation. It can be difficult for drivers to know when they are at or below the zero-tolerance because BAC levels can vary based on a number of factors, including:
- Food or drink consumption
Penalties for an Under-21 DUI in Hayward
The penalties for an underage DUI will depend on a number of factors, including the driver's BAC. The lowest penalty may involve a 1-year license suspension. The highest penalties may include a license suspension, fines, and even jail time.
Zero Tolerance Violation (BAC 0.01% to less than 0.05%)
A zero-tolerance violation involves an under-21 driver with a BAC of 0.01% or higher but less than 0.05%. The penalties for a zero-tolerance violation may include a 1-year license suspension.
Under 21 DUI (BAC 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 with a BAC of 0.05% or higher but less than 0.08% include a one-year license suspension, a fine, and alcohol education course.
Per Se DUI (BAC 0.08% or higher)
Any driver (no matter their age) with a BAC of 0.08% or higher can be charged with a per se DUI. A per se DUI means that the law 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:
- 6-month license suspension (if over 21),
- DUI school, and
- Up to 6 months in jail.
Enhanced Penalties and Aggravating Factors
Aggravating factors can increase the penalties after a DUI arrest. These factors can include having a BAC of 0.15% or higher, an accident resulting in serious injury, or having a minor under the age of 14 in the vehicle at the time.
No Right to Refuse a Roadside Breath Test
During a traffic stop, a driver may be asked to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device test. This is a portable, handheld device that is supposed to test a driver's BAC. Drivers over the age of 21 have the right to refuse these tests. In many cases, drivers refuse these tests because they can be inaccurate. However, drivers on probation for a DUI and drivers who are under 21 and suspected of being impaired by alcohol have to take the preliminary breath test.
If a driver under 21 refuses the PAS test, the driver may face a 1-year license suspension, even if the driver was totally sober and did not drink any alcohol. It may not seem fair that younger drivers have to take these tests that are not 100% reliable. Talk to your East Bay DUI defense lawyer about your options after an underage DUI to find out how you can fight these charges.
DUI Arrests and Court Appearances for Hayward
DUI Drivers who are arrested in and around Hayward may have been arrested by the Hayward Police Department or the California Highway Patrol (CHP). If a child or family member was arrested for a DUI in Hayward, they may be processed or be held at:
Hayward Police Department
300 W. Winton Ave.
Hayward, CA 94544
Phone: (510) 293-7272
Santa Rita Jail
5325 Broder Blvd.
Dublin, CA 94568
The first court hearing after a DUI arrest is generally the arraignment. A DUI in Alameda County can take place at any of the criminal courthouses in the county, including Fremont, Pleasanton, and Oakland.
Most Hayward DUI arrests will be heard in either Oakland or Fremont depending on the arresting police agency.
Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse
661 Washington Street
Oakland, California 94607
There is a parking garage on the corner of 7th Street and Jefferson Street. Limited metered parking is available on nearby streets.
Fremont Hall of Justice
39439 Paseo Padre Parkway
Fremont, California 94538
Free parking is available in the lot next to the courthouse.
The nearest BART station is Fremont (.6 miles). AC Transit operates multiple bus lines that serve this area.
The nearest BART station is 12th Street/Oakland City Center (.4 miles).
AC Transit operates multiple bus lines that serve this area.
East Bay DUI Attorney for Underage DUIs
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 Hayward and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, and the local officers and prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI specialist lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.