Los Angeles, CA- It’s no secret that teens take risks behind the wheel, and drinking and driving is one of the many risks teen drivers take until they wisen up. In a 2013 survey of teens, the Centers for Disease Control found that 10 percent admitted to drinking and driving in the 30 days before the survey. Not only are these teens putting their lives and the lives of others at risk; they also face legal consequences if they are charged with an underage DUI in California.

Firstly, it’s important to note that the legal drinking age in California is 21. It is not legal for any under the age of 21 to drink in the state. However, underage drinkers who are reporting a medical emergency involving another underage drinker won’t be penalized.

California is considered a zero-tolerance state for underage drivers although a teen’s blood alcohol content must be 0.01 percent or above for them to be charged with a DUI. It wouldn’t even take an entire beer or cocktail for a teen to exceed that low of a blood alcohol concentration.

If you are under the age of 21 and are convicted of a DUI, you face the following consequences:

A first conviction for an underage DUI in California carries a penalty of four days up to six months in jail and fines ranging between $1,400 and $2,600. What’s more, a conviction will also entail a license suspension period of 30 days to 10 months.

A second conviction for an underage DUI in California carries a possible penalty of 10 days to one year in jail and fines ranging between $1,800 to $2,800. Additionally, a convicted offender will have their driver’s license suspended for at least one year.

Those are just a few of the legal consequences for the underage DUI and doesn’t include the other legal charges underage drinkers face. Additional charges often include various traffic violations, possession of alcohol by a minor, distribution of alcohol to a minor and child endangerment, to name just a few.

An underage DUI is serious and should be seen as, so anyone facing such a charge needs to speak with a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, California as soon as possible. An attorney can explain the consequences a teen is facing if they are convicted and outline the different options they have to fight their charges and minimize the penalties they are facing. With all that information, a DUI offender can make a wise decision about how to handle their case.

Anyone facing a DUI charge, no matter what their age, should retain a defense lawyer immediately and keep a DUI conviction off their record. A DUI conviction in California will stay on your record for ten years and cost over $10K. If you are underage or just facing a DUI charge, let USAttorneys connect you with a DUI lawyer who will begin working on your defense.