The state of California takes drunk driving charges seriously. If you face charges for driving under the influence (DUI) and are under the age of 21, your entire future is on the line. One wrong decision could negatively affect the rest of your life. A Fresno underage DUI lawyer can help you make informed decisions to protect your future.
Fresno underage DUI attorney Mike McKneely will determine the facts in your DUI case and build a solid defense on your behalf. We can ask the court to dismiss your case if your Constitutional rights have been violated or present a case for your acquittal at trial. We can also represent you in administrative hearings to keep your license.
Learn more about how Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer can help you. Call us today at (559) 443-7442.
Fresno Underage DUI Charges
If the police pull you over and believe you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you could face serious consequences that make it difficult to get to and from school and cause other disruptions in your everyday life. If you blow too high on the breathalyzer or another test confirms an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC), more serious charges are possible.
The charges you could face if stopped for DUI under the age of 21 include:
Vehicle Code § 23136 – The California Zero-Tolerance Law
Drivers under the age of 21 may face charges if they have a BAC of .01 percent or above. Many people refer to this as a “zero-tolerance” law because of the extremely low limit. A swig of mouthwash or even eating certain types of food could easily put you past this limit.
Vehicle Code § 23140 – Underage DUI
A more serious violation than the zero-tolerance law, you may face underage DUI charges if your BAC tests at .05 percent or more. The penalties associated with an underage DUI conviction increase with additional convictions.
Vehicle Code § 23152 – Driving Under the Influence
If the tests show your BAC is .08 percent or greater, you could face a standard DUI charge just like someone over the age of 21. This is a more serious charge than an underage DUI in California, and carries increased penalties.
Vehicle Code § 23224 – Possession of Alcohol in a Vehicle
You could also face charges for possession of alcohol in a vehicle. If you are under the legal drinking age, it is illegal to drive with alcohol in your vehicle, even a full and sealed container.
Possible Penalties after Conviction for a Fresno Underage DUI
Vehicle Code § 42001.25 outlines the possible penalties for an underage DUI charge in Fresno. The first violation calls for a fine of $100. This increases to $200 for a second infraction (within a year of the first), and $300 for each additional infraction (within a year of the second).
While you might think these penalties are light, you can expect additional penalties, including an administrative driver’s license suspension. Depending on the charges you face and the facts of your case, other penalties of getting pulled over for a DUI could include:
- Increased fines
- Mandatory attendance in an alcohol education program
- Vehicle impoundment
- Incarceration in the county jail
If you caused an accident or injury while driving under the influence, you could face separate charges for that incident.
A California underage DUI conviction can affect your education, work, and social life for years to come. You might face rejection from a school or job; you might also lose the job you have now if you are unable to get to work with a suspended license. A college DUI lawyer can reduce your stress, and minimize the disruption this ordeal causes.
Common Defenses for Underage DUI Charges in Fresno
With more than 15 years spent in the criminal justice system as a defense attorney and prosecutor, Mike McKneely knows how to identify the most effective defense to fight your Fresno DUI charges. While your defense will depend on the facts of your case, some of the most common defenses to DUI and underage DUI charges include:
- You were not driving at the time of your arrest
- There was an issue with the BAC testing equipment, such as miscalibration
- You have a medical condition that caused issues with the BAC reading
- You had recently used mouthwash or another similar substance containing alcohol
- The police officer did not follow proper procedures when conducting your test
- The police did not have a valid reason to pull you over
- The police violated your rights during your arrest
When the facts of your case support it, we may be able to ask the prosecutor to drop the charges against you before we take your case to court. This is most effective if we can show the police made a mistake by pulling you over or detaining you.
In other cases, we will present a strong defense on your behalf to the court and ask a jury at trial to find you not guilty of the offense. This is often possible if we can show you were not driving at the time of your arrest or if we can prove the BAC tests did not accurately depict your level of impairment.
When the evidence is against us, we can fight to get you the minimum sentence possible. This could include helping you retain your license or get a hardship license and providing a strong case to show you will not repeat the offense. We might recommend you voluntarily enroll in a rehabilitation program or alcohol education class. This will help show your willingness to change.
Let Our Fresno Underage DUI Lawyer Help You
If you face underage DUI charges in Fresno, having a defense attorney on your side can help reduce the disruption your arrest has on the rest of your life. California criminal defense attorney Mike McKneely will examine your case for any weaknesses he may be able to exploit. This might lead to a dismissal or acquittal in your case.
We know mistakes happen and understand how much this type of charge can affect your education, work, and other aspects of your daily life. We will work with you to understand your priorities and work toward the best possible outcome for your needs.