California Vehicle Code Section 23140 is one of the Code Sections that could possibly be filed if somebody under the age of 21 gets caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Basically, it's an infraction if your blood alcohol level was somewhere between a .05 and .07 and then you will be charged with Vehicle Code Section 23140.
However, if the prosecutors deem appropriate, they can also charge you with a Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) which basically says that you were driving with alcohol in your system and could not safely operate a motor vehicle.
They're not really looking at what the blood alcohol level is; they're looking at the fact that you had alcohol in your system and they're trying to mount the argument that you could not safely operate a motor vehicle. They might also face charges of possession of alcohol in vehicle by someone under 21 as described under California Vehicle Code 23224.
Proving You Were Driving Under the Influence
In order to do that, the police are going to have to have facts to support that support the elements of the crime. In other words, they're going to have to be able to argue that your driving was bad because you were under the influence of alcohol and the way you were talking and the way you were talking were all indicative of you being under the influence of alcohol.
These are all things that will have to be argued in order to get you for a DUI in Los Angeles, California.
A lot of times we see the police doing the field sobriety tests. We see them writing up a report that your breath smelled like alcohol, you speech were slurred, your eyes were bloodshot and watery, nystagmus was present all of these things are arguments that they are trying to make to support the contention that you were a DUI.
Obviously, you're better off getting charged with the fracture than you are with the misdemeanor. One's a crime and one is not. So, if you had your choice, you're going too obviously pick the infraction when it comes to drunk driving. .
Another thing is if your blood alcohol level is a .08 or greater, even as somebody who is under the age of 21, the police can file a misdemeanor against you and would be a lot more likely to get the conviction in that scenario.
A lot of times, I see client's coming in who are under the age of 21 and the police take their driver's license away. If they blew anything and they're under 21, they're going to lose their driver's license for a year. Then they send the case to the prosecutors. Depending on how high the blood alcohol level is, a lot of times the prosecutors won't even file a criminal case against the person.
Pre-Filing Intervention To Avoid Filing of Charges
So, if your blood alcohol level is under .08 you have a good shot of them not filing it. A lot of times, I'll get involved and speak to the prosecutors pre-filing to convince the not to file the case, point out the facts about my client that they think they should consider.
For example, there's no reckless driving. You don't have a bad record for driving-related offenses. You were not speeding some ridiculously high speed and hopefully the blood alcohol level was low.
One of the biggest factors when it comes to DUI's whether you're under the age of 21 or even an adult, is how high your blood alcohol level was because that really is indicative of how dangerous you were on the road.
Obviously, the higher your blood alcohol level, the stronger the argument is that you were dangerous and that you should be punished get a misdemeanor on your record, have to do an alcohol program and other punishments might apply depending on the circumstances.
But trying to get that infraction as a person who is under the age of 21, but over the age of 18, is crucial because nobody wants to have a misdemeanor on their record and what they consider a crime, and the infraction is a lot less because they can't put you on probation for an infraction, so you won't be on probation. It's more like a moving violation than it is a crime.
Contact our Firm for Help
So, if you're under the age of 21 and you have a driving under the influence, give us a call. I do DUI's for people who are under the age of 18 in the juvenile court and I also do DUI's for people who are between the ages of 18 and 21, which you're still an adult.
However, that is a lesser DUI in my opinion, but sometimes the punishments can be harsher like that one-year license suspension is obviously much harsher than the thirty days for an adult who gets the exact same offense as you do.
So, you really need to understand and know the ins and outs and you want somebody who can fight for you and get you the best result when it comes to an underage drinking and driving case. Call a DUI attorney at our law firm to review your case.