Under Age 21?

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California has a "zero tolerance" law for underage drivers.  People under the age of twenty-one may not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their systems.  Even a blood alcohol content of 0.01% is prohibited and can lead to a one-year suspension of your driver's license.

If you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI and are under age 21 you must submit to a preliminary alcohol screening breath test if the officer requests that you do so.  However, you are not required to, and we advise our clients not to perform, the field sobriety exercises. 

Drivers under the age of twenty-one who have blood alcohol levels of 0.05% or higher face a one-year suspension and the alcohol education program ("DUI school").

However, to be convicted of a DUI, the prosecutor is still required to prove that you were either driving with an alcohol content of 0.08% or higher, or that you were impaired. In other words, simply being under 21 and driving with alcohol in your system is not sufficient for the prosecutor to prove that you were driving under the influence.

If you are under twenty-one and have your license suspended under the zero tolerance law, you may be eligible for a "critical need" license, under certain conditions.  The need must truly be critical (not just inconvenient) and there must be no other way for you to get to where you need to go.

We can help you with the critical need application and increase the chances that DMV will grant you one.

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The Crawford Law Firm, Inc. is committed to answering your questions about Criminal Defense law issues in Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara counties.

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