It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol in the state of Florida. Likewise, it is illegal for someone under this age to drive a vehicle while they are intoxicated. Even though the BAC limit that is considered legal for a driver who is 21 years old or more is .08 percent, for an underage driver, they will face DUI charges if they have a BAC that is .02 percent or higher.
The state of Florida also follows a Zero Tolerance policy regarding underage drink driving, and what this means is that the state imposes severe consequences for any violations a person makes. The severe penalties also carry long-term consequences for those who get convicted of a DUI under the age of 21.
Potential Penalties for an Underage DUI Charge
Since the Zero Tolerance policy that is followed in Florida, you will face harsh penalties if you are caught drinking under 21. This Zero Tolerance policy is used to help minimize the occurrence of drunk driving, which is why those who violate the law are given such harsh penalties. The severity and extent of the penalties will be based on the situation and circumstances of the alleged incident.
Some of the penalties that you may face if you are convicted of an underage DUI include:
- First Offense Underage DUI with BAC of .02%: 6-month license suspension
- Previous DUI convictions with BAC .02%: one-year license suspension
- Refusal of a blood or breath test: License suspension for one year
- Refusal of a blood or breath test for a second time: Loss of license for 18 months
If you are underage and convicted of a DUI with a BAC of .08% or higher, you will face the same penalties as a driver who is over the age of 21. The penalties that are imposed for a first DUI offense in Florida will include fines that range between $500 and $1,000, suspension of your license for 180 days up to one year, your vehicle will be impounded, 50 hours of community service, and up to six months in county jail.
Hire an Attorney for Help
If you find that you have been pulled over and arrested for DUI under the age of 21, one of the best things you can do is hire an attorney. A professional and experienced DUI attorney can look at the facts related to your case and help you defend your actions, potentially reducing or eliminating the charges.
The key here is to make sure you don’t wait to hire legal representation. The longer an attorney has to prepare your case, the better. Be sure to keep the information here in mind so you know what may happen if you drink and drive while under the age of 21. It isn’t worth it. However, if you do find yourself in this situation, hiring an attorney is the smartest move you can make to help protect your rights.