Riverside DUI Attorney for Persons Under 21

Minors under the age of 21 are one of the highest-risk age groups for dangers behind the wheel. Drivers under 21 typically have some of the highest insurance premiums because they are inexperienced drivers and more prone to engage in high-risk behaviors. When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI), Riverside, CA takes this offense very seriously for drivers under 21. Since it is illegal for people under the age of 21 to purchase and consume alcohol, underage drinking and driving can entail significant penalties.

At the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey, our firm has handled all kinds of DUI defense cases over the years. We understand how these cases work, how prosecutors seek convictions, and the best defenses against DUI charges for offenders under the age of 21.

Why Work With the Attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey?

A minor under the age of 21 facing a DUI conviction is facing serious penalties. These charges can not only lead to substantial fines and even jail time, but also driver’s license suspension that can be very damaging for a young person just starting a career or attending classes at college. At the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey, our legal professionals work to ensure you receive a fair trial and do everything we can to protect your rights:

  • Founding attorney Catherine A. Schwartz is a former Deputy Public Defender with more than 30 years of experience as an attorney. Her team has the experience and resources to ensure the most solid possible defenses for every client.
  • Our firm has handled countless DUI cases over the years, including many involving minors under the age of 21. We can help minors in this situation work toward reduced or even dropped charges in some cases.
  • We take a client-focused approach to criminal defense. Our firm will get to know you and your circumstances so we can create an individualized defense strategy.

Finding the right attorney to represent your case is crucial when facing charges for DUI under 21. Without the right defense, a minor convicted of a DUI could face many of the same penalties as an adult would in the same situation but with less flexibility when it comes to sentencing.

Special Rules for DUI for Persons Under 21 Years of Age

California takes all DUI cases very seriously. It is illegal for minors under 21 to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Under Riverside, CA’s Zero-Tolerance policy, a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01% is enough to lead to an infraction and all the associated penalties.

When police officers conduct traffic stops for suspected DUI violations, they will typically test a driver’s BAC using a handheld breath analysis device, also known as a breathalyzer. This device measures BAC when the driver blows into the device, and any BAC amount over .08% will result in an arrest for DUI. The breathalyzer is a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device. In adult DUI cases, the arresting officers will typically verify the results of the PAS with additional screening, and the results from the subsequent tests will be the primary physical evidence the prosecution will use in the DUI case. However, this is not the case for drivers under the age of 21 who blow .05% or higher on a breathalyzer.

In California, a minor under 21 with a BAC of .05% or more on a PAS device will need to deal with the fact that the PAS results can be the primary chemical test for a DUI infraction. This typically leads to a small fine of $100 or more plus penalty assessments and a one-year driver’s license suspension. However, if a minor under 21 has a BAC of .08% or more as detected by a PAS device, the minor could face a full misdemeanor charge for DUI as prescribed by state law.

Drivers under the age of 21 but older than 18 will also need to complete mandatory drug and alcohol safety education courses to have their drivers’ licenses reinstated after DUI conviction. Zero-tolerance infractions won’t add demerit points to a minor driver’s record, but an underage or standard DUI conviction (for BAC of .05% to .079% and BAC of .08% or more, respectively) will result in two demerit points.

Defending Against a DUI Charge for Persons Under 21

California operates with an implied consent statute when it comes to DUI testing. As a condition of using a California driver’s license, a driver agrees to submit to chemical testing for DUI when requested by a police officer. Refusal to submit to a chemical test carries the same penalty for minors under 21 as it does for adult drivers: the driver will receive a mandatory one-year administrative license suspension from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

It can be very difficult to fight DUI charges for an offender under the age of 21. However, it is not impossible with the right attorney. The legal team at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey has significant experience with DUI defense cases, including those involving minors under 21. Successfully defending against DUI charges for persons under 21 generally involves attacking the prosecution’s evidence, proving the minor driver was not impaired, or identifying procedural mistakes the prosecution made in the handling of the case.

The Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbeycan help you reach the most positive possible outcome in a DUI case for an offender under the age of 21. We know how Riverside County prosecutors build their cases and the kinds of evidence used in them. We can help you secure reduced or dropped charges in many situations. Contact the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey online or call us at (951) 686-8190 to schedule a free initial consultation about your underage DUI case in San Bernardino, Riverside, or anywhere else in the Inland Empire.