A survival guide to drinking and how to avoid the slammer

Cal Poly’s learn by doing philosophy really shouldn’t be in effect when you’re drinking at a party during the upcoming break. We all know that it is “unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle” in California. We’re all aware that if you have .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC), it’s illegal to drive. Is there more to these alcohol laws than you know?

Under 21:

-Servers in California can be convicted of selling alcohol to a minor – even if the purchaser uses a false or altered ID to buy the alcohol.

-No one under the age of 21 is allowed to consume or possess alcohol.

-It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle with a BAC of .01 percent or more if you’re under 21.

-A court may suspend the driving privilege of a person under 21, delay issuance of a license to a person who does not have a license, or require DMV to revoke a person’s driving privilege for DUI violations.

-Anyone under the age of 21 who is convicted of operating a boat or motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .01 percent or higher can lose his or her privilege of obtaining or keeping a driver’s license.

-If you are under 21 years of age, you may not have beer, wine or liquor in your vehicle unless accompanied by a parent or other person specified by law. (There’s an exception to this one. You may carry alcoholic beverages while working for someone with an off-site liquor sales license.)

-If you are caught with an alcoholic beverage in your vehicle, it may be impounded for up to 30 days. The court may fine you up to $1,000 and either suspend your driving privilege for one year or require the DMV to delay the issuance of your first license for up to one year, if you are not already licensed.

- Those under 21 must submit to a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) or one of the other chemical tests if you have been detained and a peace officer has reason to believe you were drinking. If your BAC measures .01 percent or higher on the PAS, the officer may take your license, issue you a temporary license for 30 days and/or give you an order of suspension for one year. The officer then determines whether to release you, turn you over to juvenile authorities or to contact your parents.

-Your driving privilege will be revoked for one year if you are convicted of either driving with a BAC of .01 percent or higher or driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. On the first offense, you will be required to complete the educational portion of a licensed DUI program. A subsequent offense may require a longer DUI program.

Over 21:

-In California, it is illegal for anyone to operate a boat or motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.
Adults convicted of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs will face the same penalties as if they were operating a motor vehicle under the influence. (Similar provisions apply when you operate any vessel, aquaplane, water skis, or similar devices.)

-California law is very strict about not carrying alcohol or drugs in a vehicle, whether the vehicle is on or off the highway. You must not drink any amount of alcohol in any vehicle.

- A BAC below legal limits does not mean that you are safe to drive. Almost all drivers show impairment by alcohol at levels lower than the legal limit. The impairment you exhibit at the time you are stopped may be enough to convict you of driving under the influence – even without a BAC measurement.

-A container of liquor, beer, or wine carried inside a vehicle must be full and unopened. Otherwise, it must be in the trunk or in a place where passengers do not sit. (In a bus, taxi, camper or RV, this law does not apply to the non-driving passengers.)

-Keeping an opened alcoholic drink in the glove compartment is specifically against the law in California.

-It is illegal for any person to operate a vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license with a BAC of .04 percent or higher.

-If the DMV takes action against you, it is related only to your driving privilege. The court’s actions may involve the payment of a fine, jail time, suspension or revocation of your driving privilege, and completion of a DUI program.

-When you drive in California, you consent to take a test of your breath, blood or urine if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both.

-If your PAS shows a BAC of .05 percent or more, the officer may require you to submit to either a breath or blood test. Some PAS devices provide a record, which may be submitted in court as evidence.

-Other PAS devices do not provide a record, so the officer may ask for a breath or blood test after the PAS. You do not have a right to consult with a lawyer before selecting or completing a test.

-If the officer still believes you are under the influence of alcohol and drugs after a breath test or PAS, you may still be required to submit to a blood or urine sample.

-If you refuse to submit to any of the tests, your driving privilege may be suspended even if you change your mind later and agree to a test.

Just so you know.

-It is a violation of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Act for producers of alcoholic beverages to use the names of retailers or restaurants that sell or serve their products in advertisements. This includes newsletters.

-No alcohol beverages can be displayed within 5 feet of a cash register of any store in California that sells both alcohol and motor fuel.

Show