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What is the Zero Tolerance Law in California?

Dale Gribow Feb. 6, 2015

In California, there are various laws designed to dissuade drivers from operating their vehicles under the influence. One such law is Zero Tolerance Law. The law was created to apply to drivers under the age of 21 and for the possibility that they will drive after drinking. There are blood alcohol content levels and accompanying penalties if the BAC level is surpassed by certain degrees. Those who are charged under this law need to understand what they’re facing and how to defend themselves to avoid a conviction.

For drivers under age 21, the maximum amount of alcohol they are allowed to have in their system is 0.01 percent. Driving with a BAC level above that will lead to a loss of driving privileges. In addition, the state Department of Motor Vehicles will have the conviction on the driver’s license if there is a BAC above 0.01 percent. For drivers who have a BAC level of 0.05 percent or more, there will be harsher charges and penalties. The driver’s license can be either suspended or delayed until the age of 21.

In the event there is involvement in an alcohol or drug offense before the age of 21, the driver’s license can be suspended even if the individual arrested wasn’t driving. People who have a history of drug abuse or alcohol abuse might be refused a driver’s license. This is also the case if the license was used illegally. A driver who has been convicted of DWI charges will have the record on his or her driver’s license for 13 years. This can influence the amount that must be paid for insurance during that period.

Beginning in January of 2007, drivers under 21 who registered 0.01 percent or above after being administered blood alcohol content tests will be cited and face fines of $70 to $100 for the first infraction; $200 for the second if it is committed within the first year; and $300 for the third violation within the first year. There will also be penalties of approximately $2 for every $10 fined in assessments and penalties.