Tustin Underage DUI Lawyer
Finding out that your underage child has received a DUI can be one of the scariest occurrences for a parent to face. Not only might your insurance costs drastically rise, but your child may face a lifetime of consequences all due to one irresponsible decision.
Despite the expensive fees and fines, as well as the possibility of license suspension that follow an underage DUI, there is an additional possibility that your child could be tried as an adult if their case meets specific circumstances. If your child is tried as an adult, they could receive a criminal charge, which remains on their criminal record. Having a criminal record can affect many future prospects, such as their ability to be accepted into a university, obtain scholarships, or even get specific jobs.
With all that is at stake for your child, it is crucial to consult an experienced DUI attorney to find out how they can help your child and build a case so that this incident does not impact them for their entire lives.
Tustin DUI Lawyer for Drivers Under 21
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann in Tustin, California, is ready to help during this difficult time. It is our job to listen thoroughly to each individual client and craft a defense to help every unique case receive the lowest possible punishment.
We understand the ins and out of the criminal justice system, and we have represented a countless number of cases involving minors in court. While working with us, you and your child are always part of the process. You are regularly updated on new findings and developments and treated with respect and sympathy in some of the hardest moments of your life.
The strong legal representation our team provides can give your child a fighting chance in the harsh California court system. We can build a case for your child that allows them to put this incident behind them and regain the rights to their life and the opportunities that await them in the future.
What Happens If You Get a DUI When You Are Under 21 in California?
Receiving a DUI offense as an underaged person is the most serious offense given to a minor in possession of alcohol. The consequences can last a lifetime, and on many occasions, added costs incur years down the line.
When an underaged person is given a citation or arrested for a DUI, they are given ten days to request a DMV hearing. The driver automatically receives a one-year license suspension if a hearing is not requested.
When compared to adults who need to blow a 0.08% blood alcohol level (BAC) or above to be cited with a DUI, the zero-tolerance law in California for drivers under 21 is much more intense. However, the punishments minors receive are typically less severe. Minors can only receive a maximum jail sentence of six months, fines totaling $5,000, and a maximum of three years of probation. Therefore, in most cases, it is worth hiring a lawyer to avoid these maximum punishments, which can sometimes lead to a lifetime of future problems.
What Are California’s DUI Laws?
California DUI laws hold a zero-tolerance for any minor caught driving under the influence. This means that even if the driver is not impaired but found with a blood alcohol level of 0.01%, they can receive punishment.
What Is the Penalty for a First Offense?
For minors driving under the influence of alcohol in California, even first-time offenders are often still subject to harsh punishment due to California’s zero-tolerance law. Each case is evaluated individually based on the conditions of the citation and the record of the person.
The blood alcohol level of the driver being issued a DUI is of huge importance and can often determine the severity of punishment they may face. The higher the BAC level, the more punishments the court can issue:
- 0.01% BAC level. If a driver under the age of 21 has a blood alcohol level of 0.01%, they can face a one-year driver’s license suspension if over 18. If they are under 18, the driver will lose driving privileges for a year or until they reach their 18th birthday. In addition, drivers can face the confiscation of their vehicle, or they can be court ordered to take classes for drunk driving safety.
- 0.05% BAC level. Young drivers may face criminal charges on their record if they blow a 0.05%. It can be expected that the driver will have to pay several fees. They are also subject to having their license suspended and could be court ordered to take safe driving classes at their own expense before being able to drive again.
- 0.08% or higher BAC level. The blood alcohol level that California recognizes as a criminal charge for adults is 0.08%. If an underage person blows this level or higher, they may be tried as an adult. This punishment could involve jail, the loss of driving privileges for an allotted time, steep fines, probation, and mandatory driving classes.
If the driver is a repeat offender, the court is likely to issue a harsher punishment. In addition, authorities can charge a driver for multiple causes, such as if another person has been injured or if the driver has caused damage to another vehicle. The more penalties that stack up, the harder it is for everything to be reduced. An experienced lawyer is often the best solution to ensure the lowest punishment for a young person.
How Are DUIs Issued?
If an officer has a justified reason to assume that a driver is intoxicated, then they have the right to ask them to take a breath test. A breath test can measure if there is any alcohol currently in the blood. It is legal in California to refuse to take a breath test, but by refusing to take this test, the driver will automatically have their license suspended for a year. The driver must also remember that it is in their rights to remain silent and not answer any questions asked on the scene by authorities without the presence of a defense attorney. Still, a lack of cooperation could lead to the driver’s arrest.
How Much Does a DUI Lawyer Cost in California?
Incurring an Orange County underage DUI citation is not cheap. Southern California has some of the highest fines for DUIs given to underage drivers in all of the United States. Due to these strict no tolerance policies, it is important to be properly represented so that you do not run into more troubles in the future.
With that being said, the cost of hiring an Orange County underage DUI attorney depends on the specifics behind your case, such as if it is a first misdemeanor, a repetitive charge, what the blood alcohol levels were, what the reason for driving was, and if anyone was injured or killed by the driver.
If it is a first misdemeanor, the average cost of an Orange County DUI attorney is typically between $400 and $10,000. This does not include other fees that can arise due to the incident, such as skyrocketing insurance costs, the price of bail if arrested, or court ordered driving classes.
In more complicated cases, a more qualified lawyer may be needed. These cases can include instances where someone has been severely injured or killed due to the underage driver or in instances where much damage has occurred to another vehicle or someone’s property. In these cases, the cost of an Orange County underage DUI lawyer can be as high as $70,000.
Is It Worth Getting a DUI Lawyer in Southern California?
Without proper representation, it is easy for a judge to find an underage person guilty of any crimes relating to driving under intoxication. Southern California’s court systems tend to be very strict, and without proper representation, young people can be charged with the highest punishments even if they are a first-time offender. With a court system not in favor of young people, it is up to a strong defense attorney to build a powerful case to best assist every young individual.
In a court case, a DUI lawyer may try to prove that the authorities did not have proof beyond reasonable doubt to assume that the driver was intoxicated. An experienced lawyer can hear the driver’s detailed account of the incident, learn as much as they can about the incident, and find holes within evidence presented by the authorities. If a lawyer can prove that the prosecution’s team does not meet Southern California’s standards for proof without reasonable doubt, charges could be invoked. In addition, it is commonly believed that positive blood results from a BAC test are an automatic conviction, but this is not true. Just because your child has tested positive on their breathalyzer test, it does not mean that they are automatically sentenced to a DUI conviction.
Would a Court Assigned Attorney Perform the Same Tasks?
Court appointed attorneys are crucial to the justice system, and most of them are strong attorneys who care about their clients. However, they may not be the best choice for a teen facing a DUI. A court assigned attorney is often overworked and does not get paid enough to provide the individual attention to their clients that is needed to build a powerful case that protects them from these harsher punishments. By hiring a DUI lawyer, you are putting your trust in someone who will give you the individualized attention you need when facing these complicated life circumstances.
A DUI lawyer can get to know your child and your entire family on a personal level. They can talk to you regularly and inform you about any updates or changes to your case. Your child can receive honest and reasonable advice from professionals who have dealt with similar cases for many years. Your child also can understand their options and be able to have a say in their case moving forward, giving them a feeling of involvement that they may not otherwise feel with a court assigned lawyer.
Find the Right Teenage DUI Attorney
Hiring a DUI lawyer in Southern California is in the best interest of any parent, hoping that their child does not have their entire life impacted by one mistake. It is not worth having to watch your child be stripped of their rightful opportunities such as attending a promising university, keeping their scholarships, or playing on a sports team just because of their wrongful decision.
Our ultimate goal for every case we accept is to provide enough sound evidence through vigorous hard work and investigation to get your child’s case dismissed in the court of law. If it is simply not possible to have the case dismissed, we are ready to fight for your child to reduce their punishments as much as possible.
We were all children at one time and made mistakes we would regret in the future. It is our belief that these mistakes should not be held against us for a lifetime to come. This is why we choose to fight for your children in the scariest moments of their lives. Our team wants to help them feel comfortable and broadcast their stories to the court, showcasing they are so much more than their mistakes.
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann Are Here to Help Your Underage Child
At the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, we understand that kids make mistakes, and sometimes these mistakes can lead them into unideal situations that can wreak havoc on their lives many years later. Despite the possible consequences of serious charges such as receiving a DUI under the age of 21, each underage person has a story to be heard. Our job is to ensure that these stories get heard and that these young people are not taken advantage of by the court.
If your child has been given a citation for driving under the influence of alcohol in the Tustin, California area and needs a Tustin DUI attorney, contact our office to schedule your consultation today.