As you may know, there is an exemption for people under 21 who drink alcohol as a part of religious services. People under 21 could partake in a small glass of wine, for example, during a Catholic service and not be in violation of the underage drinking laws.
What about driving after this service, though?
In California, the per se limit for someone under 21 is .01% blood alcohol concentration. If you take a Breathalyzer test and it is at .01% or more, then you could face charges for drinking and driving even though you are nowhere near the .08% limit for adults over the age of 21.
Can you use your service as an exemption?
Not necessarily. While an exemption may allow you to drink in some circumstances, it doesn’t mean that you can drive when you’re technically impaired by law.
There are always going to be exceptions, though, that allow you to avoid a conviction for a high BAC. For example, it’s possible for an underage driver to have a BAC higher than .01% because of using mouthwash containing alcohol or because of ingesting food that was made with alcohol, like certain kinds of quiches or stews.
What do you do if you’re accused of drinking and driving under 21?
If you can, one of the ways to help yourself after being accused of drunk driving is to make sure you know your rights. When you reach out to your attorney, they will go over what you should expect, such as the potential penalties upon conviction, as well as what you can do to minimize the risk of a conviction. For example, showing that an officer had no reason to stop your vehicle is one way that you may be able to defend yourself in court.
Your rights matter, so get to know them
It’s necessary for you to know your rights to protect yourself. Whether you need to handle this case as an adult over 18 or you are a parent who has to take steps to protect your child, now is the right time to learn more about the law, exemptions that may apply to the case and your legal options.