Underage drivers face additional DUI charges if they operate a vehicle while under the influence. Under VC § 23140 a driver under the age of 21 who drives with a blood alcohol content of .05% or greater can be charged with an infraction resulting in the suspension of their license, fines and an alcohol education course.
BAC .05% or Greater
Adult drivers are familiar with the general concept that driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater can result in a DUI. Accordingly, many underage drivers and their parents are surprised to learn that drivers under the age of 21 can be charged for driving with a BAC of .05% or more. Arising from a policy rationale that underage drivers face a greater likelihood of being impaired by alcohol than their adult counterparts, VC § 23140 is designed to penalize underage drivers who have consumed only moderate amounts of alcohol.
Underage DUI defense strategies involve constitutional and scientific analysis. First, your DUI lawyer will evaluate whether the officer had reasonable suspicion of either criminal activity or a traffic violation before pulling over your vehicle. Next, your DUI lawyer investigate the accuracy of the preliminary alcohol screening test. If the testing device was miscalibrated or improperly maintained the results alleging a minor level of alcohol in the bloodstream could be erroneous.
VC § 23140
“(a) It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.
(b) A person may be found to be in violation of subdivision (a) if the person was, at the time of driving, under the age of 21 years and under the influence of, or affected by, an alcoholic beverage regardless of whether a chemical test was made to determine that person’s blood-alcohol concentration and if the trier of fact finds that the person had consumed an alcoholic beverage and was driving a vehicle while having a concentration of 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood.
(c) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, upon a finding that a person has violated this section, the clerk of the court shall prepare within 10 days after the finding and immediately forward to the department an abstract of the record of the court in which the finding is made. That abstract shall be a public record and available for public inspection in the same manner as other records reported under Section 1803.“