The Consequences of an Underage DUI Conviction

young woman driver holding a beer

There are a number of criminal penalties and informal consequences for DUI at any age. For individuals guilty of underage DUI, those consequences may affect the trajectory of their lives. Let’s discuss the serious charge that is underage DUI and the aftermath of a conviction.

The Legal Limit for Drivers Under 21

The legal limit for of-age drivers in the United States is .08%. For drivers under 21, driving with any amount of detectable alcohol in their system is considered driving under the influence. Typically, this means scoring .02% or higher on a breath test. For perspective: this is the average BAC after one drink or less in one hour for both men and women.

Penalties for Underage DUI in California

There is some good news: an underage DUI is typically handled differently than an adult DUI. This means that the young driver likely won’t face jail time, significant fines, or probation. However, there are still consequences.

If the driver is under 18 at the time of their DUI, their license will be suspended until they turn 18, or for a year after their arrest. If the driver is over 18, their license will be suspended for a year.

If the driver’s BAC was over .05% at the time of the arrest, they will face additional penalties. This includes paying fines and attending a mandatory DUI program.

If the driver’s BAC was over the standard legal limit of .08%, their penalties can be those of a standard DUI.

Long Term Consequences

While the underage driver can wait to get their license, take the mandatory classes, and seemingly move forward, there are other consequences that one should consider about underage DUI.

  • Education: Individuals may have their underage DUI appear on their permanent record, making it available information to schools. This could affect college acceptances, sports opportunities, and scholarships.
    • Suspension: Students enrolled in college classes at the time of their arrest risk being put on academic probation, suspended, or other school-specific punishments according to policy.
  • Insurance: Insurance is already pricey for young, inexperienced drivers. With an underage DUI on record, costs could triple.
  • Employment: Teenagers may not be planning for their future careers. Unfortunately, after an underage DUI, some of their options may no longer be viable. This includes professional driving roles, certain healthcare positions, or careers that require significant trust and responsibility.

Fresno Under 21 DUI Lawyers

If your child has recently been stopped for driving under the influence under 21, contact us at Schweitzer & Davidian. We can help support you and your family through this difficult time, and help fight for your child to get the best possible outcome.