If you’re under the age of 21 in Florida, you can’t legally consume alcohol. If you’re caught drinking and driving with any amount of alcohol in your system, you could be charged with a DUI. Underage DUI charges can severely impact your future and can come with strict consequences.
If you are caught with any amount of alcohol in your system as a minor, you could be facing serious repercussions. It is important that you understand your rights and the potential impact an underage DUI charge will have on your future, as well as possible legal penalties. It’s in your best interest to contact a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Florida Laws Regarding Underage DUIs
Underage DUIs are a bit of a collection of legal problems. There are laws about DUIs and underage drinking that you can get in trouble for. However, there is also a statute specifically about underage DUIs. Florida Statute 322.2616 deals with underage DUIs and sets the requirements and punishments for it. There are two levels of punishment outlined in the statute: for those under 21 and for those under 18.
Implied consent law states that drivers must submit to blood alcohol testing upon request or face penalties. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test may lead to license suspension for one year for the first refusal, two years for the second refusal, and five years for the third refusal. A driver who refuses to take a breathalyzer test after an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death could face license revocation for five years.
Underage DUI Penalties in Florida
Since there are two levels of underage DUI, there are specific punishments for each level. For drivers under 21 with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02% or higher, they can face:
- Six month license suspension (first offense)
- One year license suspension (second offense or more)
For drivers under 21 with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, they could face the same penalties as anyone over age 21. These include:
- Fine of $500-$1,000 (first offense)
- 180 days to one year license suspension (first offense)
- Impounded vehicle
- Jail time
- Up to 50 hours of community service
For drivers under 18, they could face:
- Six month license suspension
- Mandatory addiction counseling and/or rehab
The subsequent convictions can result in longer penalties. Causing an accident with physical injuries will likely result in longer jail sentences and additional penalties as decided by applicable laws.
Impact of an Underage DUI Conviction
A juvenile criminal record can negatively affect your career prospects. A conviction for an underage DUI could also impact your ability to get into college and will follow you throughout most of your adult life.
Underage DUIs can also cause problems for adults in that you could lose your license and the ability to function as an adult. This means difficulty getting to work or being independent. You may also lose your license permanently for repeated infractions. Be safe as much as you can and don’t drink and drive, especially when you’re underage.
Contact the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford If You’ve Been Charged With an Underage DUI
Getting a DUI in Florida can lead to a lot of problems, especially for underage drivers. Fortunately, you can take legal action to fight the charges and you may be able to prevent much of the potential damage. The key is to find the right legal team to represent you.
If you or someone you know gets an underage DUI in Florida, then get legal help right away. Call the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford at (239) 315-9750 for a free consultation about your case, or fill out our online contact form. We may be able to help you fight that underage DUI and get you back on the road right away.