Fight underage DUI charges with an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyer
While most people equate a blood alcohol level of under 0.08 percent as under the legal limit when suspected of driving under the influence, DUI, this is not the case for all motorists. Florida has a zero tolerance policy for individuals under the age of 21 consuming alcohol. If a young driver has a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher, he or she may be charged with underage DUI. This means that even one drink can result in serious legal consequences. Being convicted of an underage DUI can spell significant consequences to the lives of young people. At the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., every client benefits from the nearly 30 years of experience our Tampa criminal defense lawyer uses in every case. We assist clients in fighting to protect their rights and to prevent a blemish on their criminal history.
Legal consequences of an underage DUI conviction in FL
If convicted of underage DUI, a young driver faces significant legal consequences, even for their first offense, including:
Jail time as determined by the judge
$1,000 to $2,000 fine
Suspended driver’s license for six months
A subsequent offense can result in consequences including:
Jail time between 10 days and 12 months
$1,000 to $4,000 fine
Suspended driver’s license for 12 months
If an underage person is arrested for DUI, the law enforcement officer who stops him or her has to take away the person’s driver’s license. A person only has ten days to contest this suspension. A formal review hearing is held in which the defendant has the right to bring an attorney. The attorney can question officers and other witnesses under oath. Additionally, the criminal defense attorney has the opportunity to challenge any evidence in the case or question why evidence is missing, such as a Breath Test Result Affidavit or documents pertaining to the latest information on inspections of the equipment used for the test. Florida has very specific rules related to acquiring accurate test results for drinking and driving. A criminal defense lawyer uses these specific details to demonstrate how the test was not properly administered or did not provide accurate results.
The hearing officer uses the legal standard of the preponderance of the evidence to determine whether the suspension should be maintained or invalidated. The defendant receives notice of the decision. The administrative hearing acts separately from the criminal proceeding so inconsistent results between the two are possible.
In some cases, the young driver may be required to complete a substance abuse treatment program and attend DUI School. Additionally, the individual will likely face difficulty in acquiring automotive insurance and will pay much higher rates for insurance. A criminal record can result in long-lasting consequences, causing problems with finding employment and pursuing various educational paths or professional licensure programs. If the driver is a student, he or she may face separate disciplinary action from the school.
Discuss your case with our experienced Tampa DUI attorney today
Underage DUI cases are often complex, and a negative outcome can result in significant consequences that forever change the life of a young defendant. Attorney Mark G. Rodriguez has practiced law in Tampa since 1988, resulting in many favorable outcomes for defendants. Attorney Rodriguez offers all potential clients a free initial consultation, so call (813) 227-9642 or contact us by email to schedule a complimentary consultation at our office that is conveniently located by I-275 and downtown Tampa.