Driving with 0.05 Percent Blood Alcohol When Under 21
Drinking at all under the age of 21 is illegal. But being charged with driving under the age of 21, and with a blood-alcohol content of 0.05% or greater, can carry much more severe penalties, and even revocation of your driver's license. Learn what you need to know about these charges and how to defend yourself with the help of legal counsel here.
Being Charged with Driving with 0.05 Percent Blood Alcohol When Under 21
While drinking under the age of 21 is a separate crime, California's Vehicle Code has a specific statute for driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of 0.05% or more by bodyweight. The prosecution must prove that:
- You were the one driving the vehicle in question
- Your blood-alcohol content was indeed 0.05% or more by bodyweight – this opens up questions as to the accuracy of tests
- You were under 21 years old at the time of the traffic stop
The age part is quite specific; in the eyes of the law, you're 21 once the first minute of your birthday has begun.
This charge essentially covers all underage DUI events and carries associated penalties and potential defenses. Note that, if your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or greater, you may be charged with “adult” DUI and face those larger penalties.
Penalties for These Charges
California law calls violations of VC 23140 as infractions. These are relatively low-level criminal offenses and don't normally result in jail time. Still, penalties can be significant and may include:
- Up to one-year suspension of your driver's license if it's your first offense
- A fine of $100 for a first offense
- A mandatory alcohol education program for at least three months if you're already 18
If it's not your first offense, you will face proportionally increasing fines, driver's license suspension, and longer time with alcohol education programs.
Defenses for These Charges
Since prosecutors must prove several things to secure a conviction, your California criminal defense attorney can use multiple defenses to help you avoid one.
Tests Aren't Accurate
It's well-known that chemical and breath tests are not always accurate, particularly when it comes to the fast metabolisms of younger people. Proving that the test results can't be relied upon may result in your charges being thrown out.
You Weren't the Driver
Young people frequently drive together, and you must have been the one operating the vehicle to be charged with VC 23140. If you were just riding in the passenger's seat or in the back, you are not necessarily breaking any laws, even if you're under the influence.
Contact a California Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The fact of the matter is this: it's important to get a skilled California criminal defense attorney on your side ASAP to start your defense strategy. The sooner you start working to get your charges thrown out, the better. The Law Office of Peter James Chambers are ready and waiting for your call and offer a free consultation. We can get started on your case today.