Anaheim Underage DUI Lawyer
No one under the age of 21 in Anaheim, California, plans to get charged for underage drinking. Teens need the freedom to learn responsibility, and many are capable of making responsible decisions even while out at a party or experiencing peer pressure. However, minors being charged with DUI does happen. Often this is due to a young person’s inability to comprehend the seriousness of their actions or a belief that they are somehow personally beyond the consequences of underage drunk driving. Understanding and facing the consequences of a mistake is often the first step to getting a young person’s life back on track.
It is important to understand that while DUI is a serious crime, not every initial DUI charge will lead to a conviction. With the help of an Anaheim underage DUI lawyer, you can work through your case and potentially have it dismissed or reduced. The first step to getting your charges reduced is hiring a local DUI attorney who specializes in underage drinking cases. At the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, we take underage DUI cases seriously and are here to help you through this stressful time and guide you and your family to the best possible outcomes. We understand that a DUI charge can be extremely scary for teens and their parents, but in most cases, it does not need to be a life-altering mistake. If you have been unfairly charged or incorrectly identified, we will ensure that this mistake does not compromise your reputation or future.
What Qualifies as an Orange County DUI?
Driving under the influence is a misdemeanor in California and considered illegal when any one of the following four conditions is met:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.
- Driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher
- Having certain drugs in your bloodstream affects your ability to drive.
- Driving under the influence of any drug could cause an unsafe reaction when operating a vehicle.
The specific charge for a DUI depends on a few different factors, including the exact substance the minor driving is under the influence of, impairment to visibility, and whether it is a drug that a legitimate doctor has prescribed them. Here is where we recognize that not every Orange County underage DUI is the same, and a qualified underage DUI attorney is needed to understand the nuance of each case.
What Qualifies as an Underage DUI in Anaheim, CA?
In California, someone under the age of 21 qualifies as an underage person. This means that you are not allowed to consume, have in your possession, buy, or be sold any type of alcoholic beverage. As a teen who has been given an adult privilege to drive, it is essential that you are aware of both your rights and responsibilities under the law. An underage DUI arrest can be made when a minor is caught with any amount of alcohol in their system while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. This includes having an open container of alcohol in the car, driving while intoxicated, and drinking any type of alcoholic beverage before or while driving.
The legal limit is .08% BAC (blood alcohol concentration), but as a minor, if you are breathalyzed and caught with anything between 0.01% and 0.07%, you can still be charged with an alcohol-related offense. In California, you must be 21 to legally consume any amount of alcohol. This means that entering a bar, purchasing, or carrying alcohol in public is also prohibited for anyone under 21. Our Orange County DUI lawyers recognize that every case is unique and will listen to your story completely before giving you their professional opinion.
The Dangers of Underage Drunk Driving
It is sometimes difficult to recognize the dangers of driving while under the influence as a young adult. The risks of getting caught are one thing, but you must understand that drinking and driving can lead to severe life-altering or life-ending consequences for yourself or others.
- Temporary injury: The motor skills needed to drive a car are complex, and when you add in the effects of alcohol, it can make getting behind the wheel highly hazardous to you and everyone else on the road. Making any mistakes can result in temporary injuries, including broken bones, scrapes, bruises, or cuts that can lead to long-term damage.
- Permanent disability: Although your first thought may not be about the long-term effects that come with an injury or accident, these can have a serious impact on your life in the future. When deciding to get behind the wheel after drinking, you are putting yourself in danger of suffering a permanent disability that could alter your life forever, such as paralysis, brain damage, or loss of a limb.
- Death: One of the most serious consequences of drinking and driving is death. Driving while intoxicated is one of the leading causes of death on roadways, and unfortunately, young adults are involved in thousands of deadly crashes every year. This is the ultimate consequence and is never worth the risk, no matter how often you may have gotten away with it in the past.
As you can see, the repercussions of an underage DUI are never worth the risk. However, an Orange County underage DUI lawyer can help you and your family navigate these challenges. A DUI is something that can haunt you for a lifetime if you do not take the legal proceedings seriously and enter court with the right mindset.
What are the Legal Consequences Underage Drinking and Driving?
The diverse array of penalties for an underage DUI is dependent on a number of factors and nuances. The following are the most common penalties associated with breaking this law:
- Fines: Fines are one of the most common penalties for breaking this law. If you are underage, it is illegal to purchase or consume alcohol. If you are caught breaking this law, you could face hefty fines depending on how severe the violation is.
- Impoundment of your vehicle: If you are charged with a DUI, you can face temporary impoundment of your vehicle. This is when your car is towed and held by a third party until the legal proceedings are over. The fees for this can be extremely high and can quickly add up to the thousands.
- Driver license suspension: If you are underage, driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system is illegal. If you are convicted of breaking this law, your driver’s license will be suspended for a set period of time to ensure that you are not a danger to yourself or others while the court figures out what other consequences, if any, are appropriate for your offense.
- Community service: Some courts will require some form of community service in addition to criminal fines. This helps to connect your case with the community in a meaningful way as a form of restorative justice.
- Drug and alcohol education classes: If the court determines that your underage DUI was related to alcohol or drug abuse, you may have to complete a short course in addiction studies. This helps to educate people on the severity of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and fill in any knowledge gaps to help prevent future offenses.
- Insurance increases: It is likely that you will see a hike in your insurance premiums after a DUI conviction as well. This can happen anytime you are convicted of breaking a law related to driving, especially if repair is needed to your car and others involved in any accident. This is a lasting consequence that can affect your monthly budget far into the future after your DUI incident.
- Jail time: If you have been charged with a DUI as an underage person, you face the possibility of actual jail time to go along with all your fines and penalties, especially if you are a legal adult between the ages of 18 and 21. This can be a serious consequence, especially for those who have never been convicted of crimes before. If someone died as a result of your actions behind the wheel, this drastically increases the possibility of a jail sentence as well as the damages you will be forced to pay once convicted.
With all these potential consequences, you must take your charges seriously and look into what you can do to protect yourself. The best possible outcome would be that the charges are dropped or significantly reduced. Only a strong defense can help you to achieve this. An Anaheim DUI attorney can help highlight the facts and decide the best possible direction for your defense to start building a strong case on your behalf from day one.
What Is Juvenile Probation?
Probation is a court-ordered sentence that allows you to remain free but under the watchful eye of the courts. You are mandated to meet with your probation officer regularly and comply with any other requirements the court deems necessary, typically involving community service, alcohol education courses, and abstinence from illegal activity. The purpose of juvenile probation is to help you reduce the risk that you will face the consequences for breaking the law again in the future. You will have to undergo difficult treatment and work hard to become a success story.
These probation sentences can last up to three years and include:
- Consistent meetings with your assigned probation officer at a specific cadence
- Random drug and alcohol testing, typically at least once a month
- A mandatory treatment program
- A search of your home or vehicle without notice
- Curfew restrictions
- Restrictions on travel without permission, typically geography-based
Sometimes young people who have been charged with a DUI see juvenile probation officers as an enemy, but this is not the case. Your probation officer is there to help you become a better person and navigate the consequences of your mistakes. They are a valuable resource in the process of putting your DUI behind you. They are mandated to help you make better choices in your life and guide you down a path away from criminal or hazardous behavior. Juvenile probation serves as a wake-up call and an aid in your transition toward becoming a law-abiding citizen.
Do I Need an DUI Attorney for Underage Drunk Driving?
It is natural to consider representing yourself when you get your first DUI. There is a common misconception that this will be easy to handle on your own and that hiring an attorney will only make the process more expensive. However, there are many benefits to hiring a strong DUI criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can afford it. A skilled California DUI attorney can help you to avoid the negative consequences of having a criminal record.
- The biggest benefit that an experienced Anaheim DUI lawyer can provide is protecting your record from being tarnished by a DUI conviction. This charge stays on your permanent record and can become something that prevents you from achieving future goals in your career or relationships. Your criminal defense attorney will help mitigate the effect of your DUI charges on your life as much as possible.
- They will also help you avoid many common mistakes that people without legal training make. This includes things like failing to show up for court, communicating with the court improperly, or not understanding your rights and options during negotiations and hearings. A DUI lawyer knows how to use the full power of the law as well as advanced negotiation tactics to encourage the prosecutor to reduce your charges as much as possible. They can offer you guidance on which courses or community service would be most beneficial and help get the most value out of your guilty plea if that is a route you decide to take.
- An Orange County underage DUI defense attorney also has a thorough understanding of how to handle the DMV hearing that will occur along with your DUI case. The DMV has an administrative process separate from the criminal proceedings in that the agency will independently decide if your license is to be suspended. Your lawyer can help you to navigate this process and to avoid having the DMV take your license away if possible or reduce the amount of time that you lose it for.
- Finally, a qualified DUI attorney can help ensure that your case is handled properly and with the necessary urgency. If you are currently being investigated or have already been arrested, contact an Anaheim DUI attorney to start building your defense right away. Waiting too long only puts you at more risk for whatever consequences may come your way.
Without a doubt, hiring a good lawyer to protect your record today can prevent problems in the future. This is especially true for minors who are just entering the legal system and may not know how to handle themselves. Take advantage of all the tools that your Anaheim DUI attorney has at their disposal to minimize your sentence and avoid having a criminal record.
How Will My DUI Lawyer Build a Strong Orange County DUI Defense Case?
If you are facing a drunk driving charge, it is important that you hire the best Anaheim DUI attorney possible. The heart of your defense case will center around avoiding a conviction for this offense. Your attorney will build a defense with this goal in mind around the following tactics:
- Seeking out any procedural flaws or violations of your rights that occurred during your arrest or at your testing.
- Examining the evidence for errors, mishandled measurements, or incorrect application of the law.
- Analyzing your testing methods to prove that you were not over the legal limit when tested.
- Reviewing your medical history and personal information to show that you do not fit the profile of a typical drunk driver.
- Examining the officers’ conduct to show that they were negligent and did not follow proper procedures.
- Humanizing you to show that you are a good person and have never been in trouble before, including highlighting your background, community involvement, and work ethic.
- Providing evidence of alternative explanations for motor skills or performance issues that the prosecution wrongly attributes to intoxication.
These are just a few of the many ways that a good DUI lawyer will build your defense strategy, all with the end goal of helping you avoid a conviction and receiving the least possible punishment.
An Anaheim DUI attorney will have your back every step of the way throughout your entire case. They are well-versed in building a strong defense and will know how to question the procedures, evidence, and conduct of those involved. From establishing reasonable doubt with medical data or showing that proper procedures were not followed to humanizing you with your specific background and unique situation, they are skilled at seeking the right evidence to build a strong case.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
Anaheim DUI attorneys know that a conviction can affect you for the rest of your life. A misdemeanor charge may only mean a fine and some community service, but a DUI conviction could result in jail time as well as thousands of dollars in fines. This is one reason why it is so important to have experienced legal representation during your case.
You don’t want to take any chances when facing these charges, which is why you should call the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann right away to start building your case. Not only are they experienced at representing minors, but they are familiar with the specific challenges that this creates for your case. Contact us today, and let’s work together to build your defense.