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Under 21 DUI Offenses - Punishments and Defenses

For those drivers who are arrested for a dui when they are under the age of 21, probably the worse consequence for them will be that they end up losing their driver's license for one year with no restrictions. It is possible to apply for a hardship license with the Department of Motor Vehicles, but these requests are rarely granted. The California legislature is very tough on duis and is especially tough when it comes to underage drivers drinking alcohol and driving.

Unfortunately, underage drivers cause most of the accidents on the Los Angeles streets. Hence, permitting them to drink alcohol and drive can lead to disaster. One of my main goals in defending those clients who are under the age of 21, who drink alcohol and drive, is to try and make sure that their record is protected and they are educated on the potential hazards there are for them if they drink and drive and end up hurting or even killing someone. The key thing we can do to start to turn the tide in the favor of the client is to show that their behavior was an aberration that will never happen again and that they are not a danger to the community at large.


It is not that difficult to prosecute and convict someone for a dui if they are under the age of 21. The reason for this is because of the zero tolerance law. If the police can prove that the person was a driving car, was under the age of twenty one and had any alcohol in their blood, then they can be found guilty of an underage dui. Most of the issues related to adult dui cases center around problems with proving that the adult was over the legal limit or that even if they were over the legal limit, whether they were still safe to operate a motor vehicle. If all the prosecutors have to prove is that the person had alcohol in their system, that limits the defenses and it all comes down to damage control.

For some reason, the adult prosecutors / police will give a person who is under the age of 21 the benefit of the doubt under the right circumstances in a dui case. I see this in application related to drivers who are over the age of 18, but under the age of 21 who are stopped for dui investigations. Many times the police will just target their driver's license, versus trying to send them into criminal court. I can not tell you how many times I have seen the police pull a young person over, realize they have been drinking and driving, take their license away from them, make them park their car and walk home and not give them a ticket to appear in criminal court.


For those young people who have to appear in the adult or juvenile court for a dui case, the best strategy is to sit down with a seasoned dui defense attorney who has traveled the path you are about to travel and had success defending a similar case. When I meet with clients and their parents I have a goal of mapping out a plan for success related to their case. We will give you a realistic feel for what you are facing and what you can do to help me achieve the best possible result for you under the circumstances.

Once we have a plan in place, then it is just a matter of executing it and making sure that we are doing things that will actually make a difference to the prosecutor and judge. There is no reason to just spin your wheels. With a plan in place you will obtain a sense of control back and be at peace knowing that your case is going to be handled the right way and put you in a position to be successful and move on with your life!

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The Hedding Law Firm

Phone: (818) 986-2092 | (866) 986-2092
The Hedding Law Firm
Phone: (818) 986-2092
Encino-San Fernando Valley Address:
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436
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Los Angeles-Downtown Address:
445 South Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071