• Under 21 DUIs may be charged as infractions or misdemeanors
  • Even if you are not criminally charged, you may still face a 1 year license suspension under California’s “Zero Tolerance” law


Driving under the influence while under 21 years old may be charged as an infraction under Vehicle Code (V.C.) 23140. The State only has to prove that you drove with a BAC of .05% or more..

Punishments under this section include: $100 fine, 1 year license suspension, and the completion of an alcohol program.


The State may also choose to charge you with a misdemeanor under V.C. 23152. V.C. 23152 is the standard DUI charge which requires the State to prove that you drove with a BAC of .08% or more.

Punishments for a first offense under this section include: fines and fees, informal probation, a maximum of 6 months in the county jail, as well as a yearlong license suspension and the completion of an alcohol program. However, any sentenced county jail “time” may generally be done out of custody through alternative sentencing. The fines/fees and length of informal probation tend to vary from county to county, while the length of the alcohol program is typically determined by how high one’s BAC is.

Zero Tolerance

Even if you aren’t charged with an infraction or misdemeanor, the DMV may still try to suspend your license administratively. Under California’s “Zero Tolerance” law (V.C. 23136), the DMV must prove that you drove with a BAC of .01% or more. If the DMV proves this, your license will be suspended for a year. However, you have the right to a hearing to challenge the suspension.

©NorCal Criminal Defense 2016