California operates under a “zero tolerance” policy for drivers under the legal drinking age. What this means for drivers under the age of 21 is that drinking even a single beer before getting behind the wheel risks the immediate loss or suspension of their license.

California’s zero tolerance policy requires the DMV to suspend or revoke the license of anyone under the age of 21 who has:

  • Taken a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) or other chemical test and has at least a .01 percent Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
  • Refused to take a PAS
  • Failed the PAS

Even if you are not ultimately convicted of a DUI, the suspension or revocation is automatic once you’re arrested. Officers can take a driver’s license at the time of the stop in order to submit it to the DMV.

You have 10 days after receiving a Suspension/Revocation Order to request a hearing. At this hearing, you can challenge whether the officer had probable cause to detain you for DUI or you can object to the way the PAS test was administered or to the accuracy of the machine that was used to measure your BAC level.

The length of the suspension depends on whether you took a test and if this is your first DUI offense. If you took a PAS or other chemical test and had a BAC of .01 percent or higher, you lose your license for one year.

If you refused or did not complete a PAS, the length of your suspension depends on how many offenses you’ve had in the previous decade. The first offense mandates a one-year suspension, the second a two year-suspension and any additional offenses result in a three-year suspension.

After a 30-day suspension, you may apply for a critical need driver’s license only if:

  • You took a PAS or other chemical test
  • This is your first DUI offense
  • A specific critical need exists
  • You have no other adequate transportation options available

At the end of the suspension period, you must:

  • Pay a $100 reissue fee
  • Provide proof of financial responsibility
  • Maintain proof of financial responsibility for three years

Receiving a DUI under the Zero Tolerance policy can affect your insurance rates and prospects for employment and education. Hiring an experienced legal team can help minimize the damage a DUI could do to your future.

If you or a loved one is facing a DUI under California’s zero tolerance policy, contact the Roseville, California firm of Strategic Law Command. We can help you understand the charges against you and build a strong defense. Call us at 916-787-1234 or contact us online.