For Florida drivers, one of their worst fears is being arrested for driving under the influence. After all, a DUI conviction can translate into jail time, fines, driver’s license suspension, community service, DUI School, skyrocketing insurance premiums, and a host of other unwanted consequences.
If you’re under 21 and you’re convicted of DUI, it’s not going to look good on college applications, it won’t help when you’re applying for financial aid or scholarships, and it can hurt your chances of getting on a college sport team.
More than that, your auto insurance will shoot through the roof, and that can be a problem if you or your parents can’t afford the rate hikes.
Florida’s Underage DUI Laws
Under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statues, DUI is the offense of having a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .08% or above, or having one’s normal faculties impaired by alcohol, a chemical substance, or by drugs. This means that a driver can be arrested for DUI, even if they have a BAL of less than .08%.
The .08% BAL number applies to drivers who are age 21 and above. For drivers under the age of 21, it is against the law to drive a motor vehicle with a BAL of .02% or above.
Under Section 322.2616 of the Florida Statutes, if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that someone under 21 has been drinking and driving, the officer is authorized to detain the driver and request
that he or she submit to a chemical test to determine their blood alcohol content level.
If the young DUI suspect has a BAL of .02% or above, their driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 6 months, and 1 year for a second or subsequent offense. If the driver’s BAL was .05% or above, their driver’s license suspension will be effective immediately.
Additional penalties for an underage DUI may include:
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- Possible jail time (depending on BAC and aggravating factors)
The best way to handle an underage DUI charge is to tackle it head-on. I recommend that you contact my Miami DUI defense firm, Jonathan Blecher, P.A. to protect your child’s legal rights and their future. Since your son or daughter deserves the best legal defense, check out my qualifications by reading my attorney profile here.