Proving You Were Driving Under the Influence
California Vehicle Code Section 23140 is one of the Code Sections that could be filed if somebody under the age of 21 gets caught driving under alcohol. It's an infraction if your blood alcohol level is somewhere between a .05 and .07, and then you will be charged with Vehicle Code Section 23140.
However, suppose the prosecutors deem it appropriate. In that case, they can also charge you with Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), which says that you were driving with alcohol in your system and could not safely operate a motor vehicle.
They're not looking at the blood alcohol level; 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 the car by someone under 21 as described under California Vehicle Code 23224.
To do that, the police will 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 terrible 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 to get you for a DUI in Los Angeles, California.
Often, we see the police doing field sobriety tests. We see them writing up a report that your breath smelled like alcohol, your speech was slurred, your eyes were bloodshot and watery, and nystagmus was present. These things are arguments they are trying to make to support the contention that you were a DUI.
You're better off getting charged with the fracture than with the misdemeanor. One's a crime, and one is not. So, if you had your choice, you're going to 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 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.
Often, I see clients coming in under 21, and the police take their driver's licenses away. If they blew anything and they're under 21, they will lose their driver's request for a year. Then they send the case to the prosecutors. Depending on the blood alcohol level, the prosecutors often won't even file a criminal lawsuit 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. I often get involved and speak to the prosecutors pre-filing to convince them not to file the case and point out my client's facts that they think they should consider.
For example, there's no reckless driving. You don't have a lousy record for driving-related offenses. You were not speeding at some ridiculously high speed, and hopefully, the blood alcohol level was low.
One of the most significant factors regarding DUI, whether you're under the age of 21 or even an adult, is how high your blood alcohol level is because that indicates how dangerous you were on the road.
The higher your blood alcohol level, the stronger the argument is that you were dangerous and should be punished get a misdemeanor on your record, having to do an alcohol program. Other punishments might apply depending on the circumstances.
But trying to get that infraction as a person 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. The infraction is a lot less because they can't put you on probation for an offense so that 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 driving under the influence, give us a call. I do DUIs for people under the age of 18 in the juvenile court, and I also do DUIs for people between the ages of 18 and 21, which you're still an adult.
However, that is a lesser DUI, in my opinion. Still, sometimes the punishments can be harsher like that one-year license suspension is much more potent than the thirty days for an adult who gets the same offense as you do.
So, you 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.