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Santa Rosa Underage DUI

Santa Rosa Underage DUI Lawyer

Protecting Minors in Sonoma, Napa, & Marin Counties

California takes a hard line on underage drinking and driving. The state has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. If a driver under 21 is found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or higher, they can be charged with underage DUI.

Underage DUI is a criminal offense and carries both criminal and administrative penalties. If you or your child has been charged with underage DUI, it is important to act quickly to protect your rights. 


Call Wilber Law Offices, P.C. at (707) 986-4482 or contact us online for a consultation with our Santa Rosa underage DUI defense attorney.


What Is the Penalty for an Underage DUI in California?

Underage DUI is a criminal offense, which means that a conviction will result in a criminal record. This can make it harder to get a job, find housing, or obtain a professional license. It can also increase the penalties for future DUI convictions.

When a driver under the age of 21 is found to have a BAC of 0.01% or higher, they can be charged with underage DUI. If the driver is found to have a BAC of 0.05% or higher, they can be charged with wet reckless driving. Both charges carry serious penalties.

Because the BAC threshold for underage DUI is so low, it is possible for a driver to be charged with the offense even if they have not consumed any alcohol. Many things can trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test, including certain foods, medications, and mouthwashes. A skilled defense attorney can help you fight an underage DUI charge, including challenging the results of a breath test.

Penalties for a first-time underage DUI conviction in California include:

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • 1-year driver's license suspension
  • Probation
  • Mandatory alcohol or drug education classes

Penalties for a first-time wet reckless driving conviction in California include:

  • Fines, which can range from $390 to $1,000
  • Up to 90 days in jail
  • Up to 6-month driver's license suspension
  • Probation
  • Mandatory alcohol or drug education classes

Can You Get a DUI If You Are Under 21 and Not Over the Legal BAC Limit?

Yes. If you are under 21 and are found to have a BAC of 0.01% or higher, you can be charged with underage DUI. Because the legal BAC limit for drivers under 21 is so low, it is possible to be charged with the offense even if you have not consumed any alcohol. Many things can trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test, including certain foods, medications, and mouthwashes.

If you are under 21 and are found to have a BAC of 0.05% or higher, you can be charged with wet reckless driving. This is a lesser offense than underage DUI and carries shorter license suspension and fewer penalties.

Is Underage DUI a Felony?

No. Underage DUI is a misdemeanor offense in California. However, if you have been previously convicted of underage DUI or any other DUI offense, you can be charged with a felony for subsequent offenses. A conviction for felony DUI can result in a state prison sentence of up to 4 years.

Can an Underage DUI Be Expunged?

Yes. You can apply to have an underage DUI conviction expunged from your criminal record. If the expungement is granted, the conviction will be set aside and you will be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction. You can legally answer “No” if asked whether you have ever been convicted of a crime. However, the conviction will still be visible to law enforcement and can be used to increase the penalties for future DUI convictions.

Not all individuals who have been convicted of underage DUI are eligible for expungement. To be considered for an expungement, you must have successfully completed your probation and paid all of your fines and restitution. You must also not be currently facing any other criminal charges. A skilled Santa Rosa underage DUI attorney can help you determine if you are eligible for an expungement and guide you through the process.

Can You Go to Jail for an Underage DUI?

Yes. A first-time underage DUI conviction carries a maximum sentence of up to 6 months in jail. If you have been previously convicted of underage DUI or any other DUI offense, you can be charged with a felony for subsequent offenses. A conviction for felony DUI can result in a state prison sentence of up to 4 years.

How Long Does an Underage DUI Stay on Your Record?

An underage DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record indefinitely if it is not expunged. The conviction can be used to increase the penalties for future DUI convictions. It can also make it harder to get a job, find housing, or obtain a professional license. If you are convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle for a period of time.

What Is the Legal BAC Limit for Minors?

The legal BAC limit for drivers under 21 is 0.01%. If a driver under 21 is found to have a BAC of 0.01% or higher, they can be charged with underage DUI. If they are found to have a BAC of 0.05% or higher, they can be charged with wet reckless driving. If they are found to have a BAC of 0.08% or higher, they can be charged with DUI.

Can a Minor Be Charged with an Open Container Violation?

Yes. It is illegal for a minor to possess an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. If a minor is found to have an open container of alcohol in their vehicle, they can be charged with a misdemeanor offense, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 6 months in jail. If a minor is found to have an open container of alcohol in their vehicle and is also found to have a BAC of 0.01% or higher, they can be charged with both underage DUI and an open container violation.

Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test If You Are Under 21?

No. California has an implied consent law, which means that all drivers are considered to have consented to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine if they are lawfully arrested on suspicion of DUI. If a driver is under the age of 21 and is lawfully arrested on suspicion of underage DUI, they are required to submit to a chemical test. If they refuse, they will face a 1-year driver's license suspension for a first-time refusal.

How Can an Attorney Help Me Fight Underage DUI Charges?

If you are under 21 and have been charged with DUI, it is important to contact a skilled Santa Rosa underage DUI attorney as soon as possible. A DUI conviction can have serious consequences, including fines, jail time, driver's license suspension, and a criminal record. An attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options and guide you through the legal process.

When you hire an attorney, they can help you by:

  • Conducting a thorough investigation of your case
  • Challenging the results of your breathalyzer test
  • Filing any necessary motions and legal documents
  • Representing you at all court hearings and proceedings
  • Negotiating with the prosecution for a reduced charge or sentence
  • Fighting for a “not guilty” verdict at trial, if necessary

At Wilber Law Offices, P.C., our Santa Rosa underage DUI defense lawyer has over 45 years of experience. We have a deep understanding of California DUI laws and can help you navigate the legal process. Our attorney is a skilled negotiator and litigator and will fight tirelessly for the best possible outcome in your case.

Get the Aggressive Legal Representation You Need

If you or your child has been charged with underage DUI, you need a skilled defense attorney on your side. At Wilber Law Offices, P.C., we are committed to providing aggressive representation to clients facing all types of DUI charges. Our Santa Rosa underage DUI defense lawyer will work to protect your rights and fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

Our firm represents clients throughout Sonoma, Napa, and Marin Counties. We offer free initial consultations and can meet with you over the phone or in person. Our attorney is available to answer your questions and address your concerns, and will provide you with the strong legal advocacy you deserve.


Call Wilber Law Offices, P.C. at (707) 986-4482 or contact us online for a consultation with our Santa Rosa underage DUI defense attorney.


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    But case later overturned on appeal based on arguments made by our counsel during the trial that the blood test was inadmissible and that there was no time of driving established by the evidence.
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    He faced up to a four year prison term if convicted. Client posted an ad on Craigslist offering to sell marijuana to “Prop 215 patients.” This ad caused him to be the target of an undercover sting operation by the Santa Rosa police department. At jury trial, a medical ...
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