Drunk driving is always a serious offense, but consequences are even greater when you are a California driver too young to drink alcohol. Because it is illegal for you to drink any type of intoxicating beverage until you reach the age of 21, a law enforcement officer can pull you over if he or she believes that you may have imbibed any amount of alcohol, no matter how large or small.
To confirm this belief, the officer will then administer a preliminary alcohol screening test via a handheld device. According to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles, a PAS test measures your blood alcohol concentration almost instantaneously by analyzing your breath. If your blood alcohol level is 0.08% or greater, the officer will place you under arrest.
However, there are still consequences even if your blood alcohol is as low as 0.01%, in which case the officer will inform you of the impending suspension of your driving privileges, effective in 30 days' time, and confiscate your license. Suspension of your driver license will endure for one year thereafter. You will also lose your driving privileges for one year if you refuse to take the PAS test.
Upon confiscating your license, the officer will provide you an Order of Suspension. This document will explain the reason for your license suspension and inform you whether or not you will have to appear in court. You may also receive a temporary driver license that expires after 30 days.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.