DUI Arrests for Teens
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Any advice for parents of a 16 year old arrested for DUI in Oakland? Pulled over by HP for headlight out, officer spotted an open container. Alcohol measured at greater than 0.8. Any recommendations for an attorney? Sad and scared teen mom
Craig Pinto in El Cerrito 234-1686 is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can get you the best possible result. Be prepared to pay several thousand dollars. Hope it works out well.
call colin cooper of cooper law offices. he's the best. www.cooperdefense.com 558-8400
I have custody of my 17 year old nephew. He was sitting in his car listening to music (ignition on) and had come from a party where he drank beer. The police stopped at his car (headed to a complaint of noise from the party), and arrested him and charged him with a DUI. We know that he will lose his license for one year and we will need to go to court on the charges. I would appreciate any feedback, suggestions, information from anyone who has gone through this process before with their minor teenager. I just don't know what to expect regarding his possible type(s) of punishment and how we go about getting car insurance again after the year has passed. Any information on what I can expect is greatly appreciated. Thank you. anon
Look online on the California DMV site to see what the penalties are for a DUI for a person under 21. Also you could Google ''California DUI under age 21'' for other sites that describe all the consequences of an underage DUI (penalties, loss of license for one year, need to attend DUI classes, etc.). The easiest way to figure out the insurance consequences is to call an insurance company and ask. Clearly,after the one-year license suspension this teen's insurance rate is going to skyrocket and your current insurance company may refuse to insure him, necessitating finding another company that will. So it doesn't hurt to find out the bad news ahead of time. Anonymous
After our teen got DUI, I learned it's considered a ''lightweight'' (not that it's OK, just that I never knew it was so common). First, you do not need to hire att'y. After a few weeks (it takes awhile to get it into the system) go to 600 Washington St (Oakland), to the 2nd Flr (don't make our mistake and go to the 1st Flr Traffic Dept windows...repeated visits, useless waiting in long lines....your case will never show up on those computers.....finally someone told us it's the Upstrs counter for 'criminal' , DUI, stuff---so frustrating, but get used to it....best lesson for teen: what a pile of doo-doo for them to deal with), and they'll give the court date. Due to 18 yr old age, Court doesn't permit parents to accompany Teen up to the Judge, so prep your teen well about what to say (we didn't hire att'y, so weren't informed of this, did it on the fly, and our teen screwed it up, of course, so he had to go to court twice), about proper Plea. Guilty, unless police officer screwed up badly (which in our case, he did---municipality starts with ''A'', ends with ''Y''). DMV holds/suspends license for 1 year. Meanwhile, you must deal with transportation emergencies for one year, which occur with a busy 18 yr old housing an undeveloped frontal lobe: ours was good about biking and BART, but still there were headaches and frustrations, especially if BART shut down before our teen's partying did. Second big one: after one year, obtaining insurance. It's the insurance company that handles the paperwork with the DMV which gets back your teen's license. The DUI stays on the teen's record for 10 yrs, so the ''top'' insurers won't touch your teen for 10 yrs. There's good deals from those companies that advertise on TV--Geico, Progressive, etc. You can fill out a form online and 10 agents will call you back within 2 hours. Some were extremely nice and helpful. You'll need to self-educate about coverages actually needed, how much, etc, so you don't get clipped. I got estimates of $2K/yr, and after evaluating what we really needed, it came down to $1.2K/yr average. Also, your teen will obtain a discount on future premiums for each succeeding year they are a good driver/good grades. Good luck. ''This, too, shall pass''
Get yourself a good lawyer fast. If the car is not running and not moving, you may have a good case for a dispute since a theoretical ability to drive when the car is not in operation is not a basis for an arrest (e.g. pre-crime) and listening to music doesn't necessarily imply operation of a motor vehicle either since the key must be turned to operate the radio. Now there are gotchas here, so you must consult a lawyer.
A cop may arrest on the basis of a violation but not on the theory (like he *may* drive) of operation, and it is not the cop who determines whether he is guilty or innocent or whether a violation has truly occurred - it is the province of the Courts. Your nephew deserves proper representation in this matter.
Finally, while you may be annoyed with your nephew now please be aware that this matter will not go away - Court records are public and may impact his ability to make a living many years down the line when he's long past that annoying age. Believe me, it is worthwhile to pay the money and let a well-recommended professional attorney assist you in navigating this problem. And please don't hunt through the phone book and randomly pick out someone because they have a big ad - attorneys are expensive and you can't afford a mistake any more than you'd pick a random guy to redo your home's foundation - do your homework. Good luck Anonymous
OMG - DO NOT HIRE A LAWYER unless you are prepared to pay $60,000- $80,000. (And the odds are you still not win.) The Public Defender will do a better job then a private attorney. This is a huge money maker for attorneys and all they will do is plead the case for you. (Something you could do on you own.)
Go to court and plead Not Guilty and ask for a PD.
Correction to the person who stated If the car is not running and not moving, you may have a good case for a dispute since a theoretical ability to drive when the car is not in operation is not a basis for an arrest.
This is NOT true in California. A minor with any BA level is guilty (period) there is no defense. By law it's illegal for a teen to have any BA level, doesn't mater if he was in the car or standing in a parking lot or there wasn't a car even close. In CA it's a mandatory license suspension.
The courts and DAs are very, very hard on teenagers with any BA level. Remember the family that was just killed in Novato? And don't let anyone try the cough medicine or mouth wash defense unless you child drank 5 gallons just before he was arrested. (You can find the calculation on-line.)
The arrest is going to be on your child's record rest of his life and it can not be erased, (it's already in the computer systems). If he applies for a job they will find it. As for the convection work with the PD, if your son can demonstrate he's a good kid you can get the record sealed and years from now possibly expunged.
Be glad your child did not kill anyone or get killed. If you son took driving training in CA he would have seen the video of the interview of the teen who is serving 25 years for killing another teen in Sacramento. (It's almost a repeat of the accident in Novato.)
Then consider the politics. Do you think a judge will let your son off on a technicality because the keys weren't in the car or he was in the back seat. If he does and your son gets into another accident that judge is not going to look good.
Look on the bright side and use this as a learning lesson for your son. Remind your son no one was killed, injured and there was no property damage and he should be all he got was a ticket. If he still doesn't get it arrange to have your son meet the young man in Vacaville that caused the Sacramento accident, he'll be there for another has 20 years.
Best of luck to you and your family. Someone who has been there
I am a Public Defender. I am not recommending that you retain, but I would like to correct the response in the 1/8/10 newsletter. It doesn't cost $80,000 to retain a private lawyer for a Teen DUI. The fees should not even come close to that amount. It is good to have someone who handles these types of cases on a regular basis, who is familiar with the courts and the DMV, take a look at your case. While it is true that teens can have no measurable amount of alcohol in their system, that does not mean that fighting their DUI charge is pointless. There may be issues that need to be addressed and not actually driving is an issue that should be dealt with. Look at it as two separate things, the DMV which deals with the license and the courts which deals with the consequences of the DUI arrest. Yes he may have an entry on his record of the arrest, but this is not a death sentence on his/her life. Get some legal counsel, PD or private. Just my two cents. Jody
My step son got DUI and he is 18 years old (under age drinking). Has anyone been through this with their kids. Should we hire a lawyer or go it alone? Does anyone know a good DUI lawyer?
There are now gadgets called Ignition Interlock Devices which are attached to the car. They are essentially breathilizers -- the engine will not start if the driver has been drinking. There are different models, made by different companies, but there are ways to be sure that the passenger cannot be the one whose breath is being tested.
There's a new state law which will mandate use of IIDs after the first DUI conviction but this is a pilot program, being used in a few counties. (AB 91)In any case, perhaps such a gadget would be useful to parents who are worried about their kids driving after drinking. Patty