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Nearly every jurisdiction in America has tough DUI laws, and Los Angeles is no exception. The manner in which the penalties for DUI are applied, however, can differ by age group. Those drivers accused of DUI who are under the age of 21 are especially vulnerable to this reality, as the penalties in Los Angeles can be even more severe. This stems from the fact that individuals under the age of 21 are not legally permitted to consume alcohol in the first place. As a consequence, the law stipulates a much lower blood alcohol content level threshold in order to be charged.
The Current Legal Landscape
Both the city government and the courts in Los Angeles have issued directives granting authority for individuals under the age of 21 to be given a more severe penalty if they have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. If you are in this age group and you find yourself arrested for DUI, you will want to contact a Los Angeles DUI attorney right away. The penalties can be so severe that your future is at stake.
In Los Angeles, drivers under the age of 21 can have their license suspend for one year when convicted of a DUI. This is an increase of the four months that drivers over the age of 21 will receive. It should also be noted that a driver over the age of 21 will not have their license suspended unless they have a blood alcohol content level over .08 percent. For drivers under the age of 21, however, that level dips to .01. As such, individuals are not permitted to have even a trace of alcohol in their system. If you are convicted of a DUI when you are under 21, you will likely lose your license for the full year, with no possibility of getting a restricted license to drive to work.
Younger Drivers may be Targeted
While many law enforcement officials will not admit it, younger drivers tend to be targeted when operating a motorized vehicle. They are perceived as being more likely to commit a minor traffic offense, leading them to be pulled over at disproportionate levels in comparison to other age groups. While younger drivers are not supposed to be targeted at a DUI checkpoint, they often are singled out for checks. This is especially true at night. Judges are also known to show fewer leniencies when confronted with an individual under the age of 21 who is suspected of a DUI.
What a Lawyer Can Do
A Los Angeles DUI attorney will represent you every step of the way. They will work to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the best representation possible. Judges often have discretion if this is your first offense, so your lawyer will help them take that into account. It is also important to know the facts behind your case. There are still permissible instances, for example, that an individual under 21 years of age can consume small quantities of alcohol. An example of this would be at a religious gathering. Your lawyer will know the law regarding this and make sure that it forms a part of your defense, if applicable.
It is important to understand that the penalties for DUI are severe. They can alter the course of your life by making employment more difficult to achieve, strain family and personal relationships, and much more. Contact a lawyer today to receive the best legal advice that you can get.