In Florida and across the U.S., it is unlawful for individuals who are younger than 21 years of age to purchase or consume alcohol. This means that if you are under 21 and caught driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, you face serious consequences. The legal limit for drivers who are 21 years of age or older in Florida is .08%, however for those younger than 21 a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .02% or above can result in DUI charges. Under Florida Statute §322.2616, the state imposes zero tolerance laws for teen drivers. Essentially, if you are younger than 21 and caught driving with a BAC of .02, your driver's license may be suspended. If you have a BAC of .08, you may be arrested for driving under the influence which means you may incur harsher penalties in addition to license suspension. At Adams & Luka, we understand that as a teen or a minor's parent, this can be a stressful and even frightening experience. We urge you to contact our office now for outstanding legal guidance and support.
How long an underage driver's license is suspended depends on his or her BAC at the time of testing. If blood alcohol concentration levels are between .02 and .05 and it is a first offense, license suspension typically lasts for six months. However, if your BAC was higher than .05, your driver's license may be suspended for a very long time - in fact, until you turn 21, or until you have completed counseling and undergone a substance abuse evaluation. For second time offenders, the punishment becomes even harsher.Defenses to Underage DUI in Florida
Depending on your blood alcohol concentration and the facts of your case, you will need a capable Orlando underage DUI defense attorney. For example, if your BAC was .08 or above, you may be facing jail time, fines, and other penalties. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer knows how to defense against DUI charges, and the mistakes often made in the course of a stop/arrest. Police must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. Breath tests are not always accurate or reliable, as they may be improperly administered, or equipment may not be functioning properly.
Ultimately, we develop the most effective defense strategy for the specific facts of our client's case, and work vigorously to challenge any and all evidence brought by prosecutors.
It is also important to note that as a minor, you may face other charges including minor in possession, possession of false identification, distribution of alcohol to minors, and more. Students may be required to attend a disciplinary hearing. Make no mistake, underage DUI is a big deal. This is why it is critical that you consult with a capable Orlando defense attorney.Criminal Penalties for Underage DUI in Orlando & Central Florida
The penalties you face if convicted of underage DUI depend on the circumstances of your case and are as follows:
BAC of .02 or above. For a first offense, license suspension for six (6) months. A subsequent offense (second, third, etc.) will result in driver's license suspension for one (1) year.
BAC of .02 or above for driver under the age of 18. For a first offense, license suspension for six (6) months. In addition, you will be required to complete and alcohol education program or undergo evaluation at an addiction facility.
BAC of .08 or above. If convicted of having a BAC of .08 or higher and under 21 years of age, you will face the regular penalties as someone over 21 would face. These penalties may include jail time of up to six (6) months, 50 hours of community service, fines of up to $1,000, driver's license suspension from six (6) months to one year, and vehicle impoundment.
Refusal of a breath or blood test. If you are younger than 21 and refuse a breath/blood test, your driver's license will be suspended for one (1) year for a first offense. A subsequent offense will result in license suspension for 18 months.Call Adams & Luka Now
Underage DUI charges can result in much more than driver's license suspension or other criminal penalties, it can affect your life forever. Having a juvenile criminal record will impact various aspects of your life, including whether you may be accepted into some colleges or even join the military. At Adams & Luka, we understand that teenagers make mistakes. When you get caught, it can unfortunately impact your life in more ways than you would ever have imagined. For unsurpassed legal guidance and support, call us for a free consultation today at (407) 872-0307 or (352) 787-2101.