What BAC Does a Person under 21 Need to Be Guilty of DUI in Orange County, California?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jun 08, 2016 | 0 Comments

You may have heard that people under the age of twenty-one (21) face a lower threshold for being convicted of California DUI. This is correct. The laws that apply to underage (under-21) DUI in California are a bit different than those for people 21 and older.

The first thing to remember is that if you break the standard (adult) DUI laws in California, you will be charged with DUI even if you are under 21 (or under 18). You do this by driving "under the influence" under Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC, or by driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher under Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC.

But, if you are under 21, you have to worry about a few additional laws as well. These are:

Vehicle Code 23136 VC, California's "zero tolerance" law. California's so-called "zero tolerance" underage DUI law punishes drivers under 21 who drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system (i.e., with a BAC of 0.01% or higher).

VC 23136 is not actually a criminal offense, so it does not lead to jail time, criminal fines or a DUI on your record. But it WILL result in a one-year suspension of your driver's license if you do not contest the suspension.

Vehicle Code 23140 VC, California's underage DUI law. This special form of DUI applies only to drivers under 21. Underage drivers can be convicted under VC 23140 for driving with a BAC of 0.05% or above--considerably lower than the threshold for standard DUI.

Luckily, VC 23140 is an infraction. This means that it will not result in jail time. But it can lead to a fine, a one-year suspension of your driver's license and/or three or more months of mandatory DUI school.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370