Driving under the influence is one of the most dangerous things a person can do in California. It becomes even more dangerous when the driver is underage. Not only are they inexperienced, but they are also under the influence of alcohol when they are legally not allowed to drink. The letter of the law in California is that the state has a zero tolerance policy for underage drivers who have had an alcoholic beverage.
The zero tolerance law in California makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive impaired. If the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .01, he or she will face a license suspension of one year. A violation of this law is not an actual crime. It only leads to a license suspension by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The police officer who makes the traffic stop and discovers that you have a BAC of .01 will confiscate your license on the spot. You then have 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV. If you lose the hearing or fail to attend the hearing, your license will automatically be suspended for one year.
Underage drivers who violate the zero tolerance law could find themselves paying hefty fines -- up to $1,000 -- for the infraction depending on their prior record. Violators might also have to enroll in an alcohol program.
Drunk driving is a serious crime that can lead to deadly consequences. California's no tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving is always in effect. Make sure you know the law and the consequences you face when driving under the influence of alcohol.