For adults and teenagers alike, a DUI could have serious life implications. The legal limit in California for an adult 21 years and older is 0.08 percent. However, that limit does not apply to drivers under 21. To combat underage drinking and driving, California has instated stricter DUI laws for drivers under 21.
:#1: California's Zero Tolerance Law for Underage Drinking California has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers who are under 21 is 0.01 percent. One standard drink would likely put a person over 0.01 percent. If charged with a DUI, a driver could receive automatic license suspension for 12 months. However, depending on the situation, the court could impose even greater consequences. In addition to fines, the court could require a longer driver's license suspension, jail time, community service, the completion of a DUI program and the installation of an ignition interlock device.
#2: California's Right to Refuse Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Drivers under 21 do not have the right to refuse a PAS test. Unlike drivers 21 years and older, drivers under 21 are required to submit to a PAS test if asked by a law enforcement officer. A PAS would likely be in the form of a breathalyzer test to measure the driver's BAC.
#3: California's Possession of Alcohol Offense Possession of alcohol could result in license suspension too. Drivers under 21 could face another offense: possession of alcohol. In California, it is illegal for a driver under the age of 21 to have alcohol in the vehicle with them unless it is full, unopened and sealed. Even so, the driver must be with a parent, legal guardian or at work for an employer who has a liquor license. If charged with possession of alcohol, the driver could have their license suspended for 12 months. Additional penalties could include vehicle impoundment for 30 days and fines up to $1,000.