Florida’s Zero Tolerance for Underage DUI
Written by Moses & Rooth on August 22, 2018
Drunk drivers cause considerable damage on Florida’s roads. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, over 5,000 crashes were caused by drunk drivers in 2016. These wrecks caused 461 deaths and over 3,000 injuries—staggering numbers that cost the state millions of dollars a year.
Because those under 21 cannot legally consume alcohol, Florida unsurprisingly has a zero tolerance policy for underage DUI. If you or a loved one has been picked up for driving while intoxicated, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Under Florida law, drivers must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under 0.08. If your BAC is higher, then you have committed a DUI.
Drivers under 21 have an even lower maximum BAC: any score of 0.02 or higher qualifies. This means that a single drink can render a young driver legally intoxicated.
Punishments are serious for those who are under 21:
- You will lose your license for six months in an administrative suspension if this is your first offense. If it is a second offense, then you will lose your license for a year.
- If you refused to take a roadside test, your license will be suspended for a year. If this is your second or subsequent refusal, your license will be suspended for 18 months.
- If your BAC was 0.08% or higher, then you will receive the same punishments as an adult would. You can pay a fine of $500-1,000, have your license suspended for 180 days to 1 year, perform 50 hours of community service, and spend up to 6 months in county jail. The state can also impound your vehicle.
If you were picked up for DUI and are under the age of 18, then you will lose your license for six months and must undergo a mandatory evaluation or complete an alcohol education program.
Collateral Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Losing your license for 6 months and doing some community service might not sound like stiff punishments. You might even get your parents to pay your fine for you. However, criminal convictions have repercussions that can last a long time and can make it hard for young adults to establish themselves.
With a criminal record, you might experience the following:
- It can be harder to get an apartment
- It might be harder to obtain a job
- Your preferred college or university might reject you
- You might not qualify for scholarships
- You might not gain acceptance into the military
For these reasons, you must take any arrest for under-21 DUI very seriously. At Moses & Rooth, we can review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and identify your strongest defense.
Charged with an Under-21 DUI in Orlando?
DUI is no laughing matter. The costs can be considerable and long-lasting. By contacting one of our Orlando DUI attorneys, you can give yourself the best chance of a favorable outcome, whether that involves a generous plea deal or fighting your charges in court.
To learn more about how we can help you, please call 407-377-0150 to schedule your free consultation.