Underage DUI in Southern California is a rampant problem, according to numerous independent surveys. Campaigns to stamp it out often revolve around scaring young drivers about the dangers of alcohol abuse and imposing draconian consequences for violating the law. However, best practices for dealing with this dangerous community issue should be more nuanced and holistic. Here are some suggestions for how possibly to improve the system.
#1: Educate young people about California’s zero-tolerance policy towards underage DUI.
California boasts a reputation as a “fun in the sun” state. But the DUI laws here are incredibly strict — particularly as they relate to underage drivers. If you are younger than 21, and you’re caught driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of just 0.01% or more — the equivalent for many people of just a single glass of beer or a small serving of wine — you can be hit with a DUI and suffer a driver’s license suspension of a year or greater depending on circumstances. If your BAC level is over 0.05%, you can additionally be tagged with a regular Los Angeles DUI and subjected to penalties including court costs, probation, and fines. Kids who are learn about these strict laws may be less likely to violate them.
#2: Institute programs to reduce DUI incidences on or around colleges campuses.
Southern California is a driver’s mecca. But without a car, college and university students may feel socially isolated and stranded. Thus, students often feel tremendous pressure to drive — even when they know they’re not supposed to. Even “good kids” at places like University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Southern California (USC), and UC Irvine often make bad mistakes just because they strive to be sociable. Better administrative planning and more diverse and abundant social options on campus (as opposed to off campus) should help. And both carrots and sticks could be tried. Campus disciplinary measures, such as curfews, regulations, restrictions on vehicles, and so forth could incentivize students to stay on campus and thus to avoid the partying-and-driving problem.
#3: Involve underage drivers themselves in the solution.
To beat the “underage DUI in Los Angeles” meme, we may need the active assistance of the underage driver community. Imposing rules on young adults and teenagers often backfires. After all, part of the modern American ritual of coming-of-age is rejecting authority and all its trappings. To solve the problem of underage drinking and driving under the influence, therefore, we may need to find ways to help peer groups self regulate. In other words, if groups can make it “uncool” to drive DUI in Los Angeles, we should likely see a vast reduction in incidences. The challenge is figuring out ways to get this to happen. How do we get peer groups en masse to reject certain dangerous and unacceptable behaviors? Obviously, social engineering on this scale can be difficult — and it can backfire. But maybe a solution is to solicit the input of groups themselves. In other words, instead of imposing our ideas on young drivers — i.e. lecturing them — invite them into the process and have them offer proactive solutions and suggestions for mechanisms of enforcement.
#4: Provide good legal help to the kids who need it.
If you or a friend or family member (son or daughter) has been arrested for underage DUI in Burbank or elsewhere in Southern California, you may need a savvy attorney to develop a forward thinking strategy to protect your rights and limit damage to your pocketbook and future.
Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group spent 14 years working for the city of Los Angeles as a Deputy District Attorney prior to becoming one of LA’s top tier criminal defense lawyers. Attorney Kraut has served as a legal commentator for KTLA news in Los Angeles as well as BBC News. He has a reputation for tenacity, and he boasts a deep understanding of how to get results from the legal system.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Burbank or you are under investigation for driving under the influence in Southern California, please contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut for 24/7 assistance by phone at (323) 464-6453 or toll free at (888) 334-6344 or online.