Underage DUI: What You Need to Know

California state law prohibits anyone from driving a motor vehicle when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. However, if the person is under the age of 21, they may face even harsher penalties under California’s Zero Tolerance law. Underage drivers who are caught with a BAC of just .01% in California could be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). If convicted, they may receive jail time and substantial fines.

If you or your underage child has been arrested for drinking and driving in California, now is the time to seek legal representation from a Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney who has experience handling DUI cases involving underage drivers. At Aron Law Firm, we have protected the rights of Californians accused of DUIs for many years. We know how to get charges reduced or dismissed and will fight to protect the interests of you or your child during every step of the process.

Types of Penalties You Could Face for an Underage DUI in California

The state of California’s Zero Tolerance law restricts anyone under the age of 21 from operating a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system. Punishments for underage DUI convictions are also incredibly harsh in the Golden State and may affect your child’s legal record.

Drunk driving cases involving teenagers under the age of 18 typically go through the juvenile court system in California. At this young age, DUIs are considered acts of delinquency and are not technically crimes, but offenders may still expect to be severely penalized. California DUI offenders under 21 years of age could face penalties such as:

  • Time in jail
  • Probation
  • Points on their license
  • Removal of good driver status
  • Required installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
  • Completion of a DUI impact course
  • Potential felony charges
  • Community service
  • Increased automobile insurance rates or policy cancellation
  • Tarnished reputation

Being convicted of DUI while under the age of 21 may also hinder your opportunities to:

  • Attain scholarships
  • Hold certain professional licenses
  • Possess a firearm
  • Join the military
  • Get accepted into some colleges or universities

Convictions for violating Vehicle Code 23152 are not eligible for sealing or expungement in California because they go on your driving record rather than your criminal record. As a result, underage DUIs will remain on your record for the next ten years. Consider enlisting the help of a skilled California criminal defense attorney to avoid risking this long-lasting mark on your record.

Mitigate Penalties for Underage DUI with a California Criminal Defense Attorney

Young people in California have a world of opportunities ahead of them in life, but a single night of drinking may cause the life laid ahead of them to be tossed by the wayside. An Aron Law Firm criminal defense lawyer may help you or your child mitigate the penalties of an underage DUI or, in some cases, have them dropped completely.

The sooner you partner with a California underage DUI lawyer, the sooner they may begin building the strongest case for your defense. Our lawyers will be with you and your child every step of the way during the legal process. We work hard to fight for all of our clients’ rights in obtaining justice or working to reduce charges. Schedule your meeting with an Aron Law Firm attorney to discuss your case by contacting our office today. Call (805) 618-1768 or you may reach out to us online via our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you and your family.

William M. Aron


William M. Aron

May 19, 2023

Former Deputy District Attorney William Aron received his Juris Doctorate from the Duke School of Law and has amassed 20 years of experience practicing law. Attorney Aron dedicates his practice to defending the accused, and is devoted to keeping his clients out of prison.