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Florida's Zero Tolerance DUI for Drivers Under Age 21

DUI attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

The Sunshine State has some of the strictest laws regarding drunk and drugged driving. Minors who drink and get behind the wheel also can face harsh penalties. In Florida, you must be at least 21 years old to legally consume alcohol. If you are not of drinking age and are arrested for drinking and driving, you could a variety of penalties and punishments.

Attorney for Juvenile or Under Age 21 DUI

Underage drivers who are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can face steep penalties. The consequences of the offense can last longer than the criminal penalties. It is important you act fast after an arrest to start building a defense.

Call (850) 681-7777 to discuss a “zero tolerance” case with an experienced Tallahassee defense attorney at Pumphrey Law. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law have years of experience representing juvenile offenders who are facing DUI charges. They will work to help you get the best possible outcome in your case.

The Tallahassee DUI defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law fight to protect young people charged with any under aged drinking offense in Tallahassee and the nearby areas throughout Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit, including Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Quincy in Gadsden County, Bristol in Liberty County and Monticello in Jefferson County.

Information About Underage DUI

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Drinking and Driving Laws for People Under 21

It is illegal for any person to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to point where normal faculties are impaired. This means a person cannot be driving and cannot be in actual physical control of a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

If a person older than 21 has a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or higher, however, he or she is considered “per se” impaired. This means he or she is intoxicated for purposes of the law no matter whether or not his or her faculties are impaired.

Juveniles under 21, however, cannot have a BAC more than 0.02. Under Florida Statutes § 322.2616, if prosecutors can prove an underage person was driving or was in actual physical control of a vehicle with a BAC of 0.02 or more, he or she may be convicted of a DUI.

Florida has a “zero tolerance” policy toward juvenile DUI. Blowing over the legal limit could have serious repercussions. The results of the chemical test can depend on a variety of factors, including a person’s weight, height, and body. This means getting behind the wheel even after one drink could change your life.

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Penalties for Underage DUI in Florida

Although the BAC level is different in juvenile DUI cases, the penalties they face are the same. These penalties also could apply if the driver is accused of drugged driving. A person under 21 who is arrested for a DUI for the first time could face:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Mandatory community service
  • Drug and alcohol counseling
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • License suspension for six months

Drivers have a right to contest the license suspension by requesting a formal review hearing. However, they only are allowed 10 days to demand the hearing. The Tallahassee juvenile lawyers at Pumphrey Law can help underage drivers through the lengthy process.

If a driver younger than 21 refuse to submit to a chemical test, his or her license automatically will be suspended for a year for a first offense and 18 months for a subsequent suspension. If a driver takes the test and fails, however, his or her license will be suspected for six months for a first offense and a year for a subsequent suspension.

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Enhanced Penalties for Any Blow Over 0.05

Although an adult can take a breath test with a reading of more than 0.05 but less than 0.08 without any presumption of impairment, the same cannot be said in cases involving an underage driver. Any blow of 0.05 or higher will result in enhanced penalties being imposed if the young person is convicted, including a rule that the “hard period” of the driver’s license suspension stay in place until after the young person completes DUI school. The driver also will be required to cover the cost of the school, according to Florida Statutes § 322.2616.

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Indirect Under 21 DUI Consequences

Besides the possible punishments and penalties that can be imposed by the court, a young person also faces a myriad of indirect consequences that can occur if convicted of driving under the influence. The consequences can have a long-term impact on the driver. Some possible consequences include:

  • Disciplinary actions from their high school or college, including being expelled from school, especially if the young person has prior disciplinary action or the drunk driving offense occurred on campus.
  • A dramatic increase in insurance premiums that can last for more than three years
  • A permanent mark on the young person’s criminal record which can never be sealed or expunged. This can create problems when applying for jobs, housing and governmental assistance, including financial aid.

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Finding a DUI Attorney for Under Age 21 DUI Cases in Tallahassee, FL

A DUI can change a young person’s life, but a charge does not have to mean a conviction. A skilled attorney can help you build a defense in your case. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney at Pumphrey Law to discuss the circumstances of your charges and get a free legal consultation.

Our attorneys fight DUI charges in Tallahassee and surrounding areas.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, January 29, 2019.

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