When a Florida driver over the age of 21 has a BAC of 0.08% or higher, they are considered impaired as a matter of law. On the other hand, Florida law prohibits drivers under the age of 21 to drive with a BAC of 0.02% or more. This means that in Florida, a driver under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI if caught driving with a BAC of at least 0.02% but less than 0.08%.
A driver under the age of 21 who is found driving with a BAC of 0.02% or more risks facing severe consequences. Therefore, if you or your child has been charged with underage DUI in Florida, contact a skilled attorney right away.
Florida’s Zero Tolerance Law
When it comes to underage drunk driving, the state of Florida follows what is known as the “Zero Tolerance Law.” Generally, the Zero Tolerance Law is a law that specifically pertains to drivers under the age of 21. Under Florida’s Zero Tolerance Law, a driver under the age of 21 in Florida is not allowed to drive with a BAC of 0.02% or more.
In order to enforce this law, the state has given law enforcement officers the authority to request drivers under the age of 21 to submit to chemical tests, including breath tests, as long as they (law enforcement officers) have probable cause to believe that a driver is under the influence.
Penalties for Underage Drunk Driving
According to Florida Statute 322.2616, if a driver under the age of 21 is found with a BAC of 0.02% or more for the first time, their driver’s license will be suspended for six months. But, if a driver’s driving privileges have been previously suspended, their license will be suspended for one year.
According to Florida law, if a driver under the age of 21 refuses to submit to a breath test, their driver’s license will be suspended for one year if the refusal is their first. On the other hand, if the refusal is not their first, their driver’s license will be suspended for 18 months.
It’s important to note that the suspension usually commences on the date of issuance of the notice of suspension.
Suppose an individual under the age of 21 is found guilty of driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. In such a case, the individual would face the same penalties a driver aged 21 or over with a BAC of 0.08% could face. In Florida, the consequences for driving with a BAC of 0.08% or more include, among others, monetary fines of $500 to $1,000, imprisonment of up to 6 months, and driver’s license suspension of 180 days to 1 year.
Lastly, if an underage driver is found with a BAC of at least 0.05%, they will most likely be required to complete a DUI evaluation and course. Before they can have their license reinstated, a driver ordered to complete a DUI evaluation and course will need to show proof of substance abuse course completion.
However, an experience criminal defense attorney can assist you, your child, formulate the best possible defenses for any DUI. There are many factures that must be considered prior to accepting a plea offer, or possibly taking the case to trial. An attorney can review all the evidence against you, as well as interview (or “depos”) any police officers involved. This process is vitally important in order to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale DUI Attorney
If you or your child is facing underage DUI charges in Florida, contact a skilled and dedicated Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney at Joyce A, Julian, P.A., today. We can help you protect your rights. Call us today at 954-467-6656 to schedule a consultation.