If My Teenager Gets Charged with a DUI, What are the Consequences in Florida?
Drinking and driving is never a good idea, but for those under 21 years of age, the legal age to consume alcohol in Florida and nationwide, the state of Florida maintains a zero-tolerance policy. Under this policy, those who are under 21 can be charged and convicted of a DUI even if they do not meet the legal limit of .08% blood alcohol concentration level (for those under 21, the limit is .02%). If you are the parent of a teen who has been charged with a DUI in Florida, here is what you need to know about the potential consequences.
Being convicted of a DUI at any age is a big deal; for young people, the conviction could have a lasting effect on future opportunities. The penalties for an underage DUI conviction in Florida include:
- License suspension: Those who are under 21 years of age who are charged with a DUI for having .02% BAC or above will face an automatic license suspension of six months for a first-time DUI. A second offense will result in a one-year suspension.
- Mandatory attendance at substance abuse evaluation course: If a person under the age of 21 is convicted of a DUI for having a BAC of .05% or greater, his or her license will not be reinstated until he or she completes a substance abuse evaluation course.
- Fine: A DUI conviction will result in a large fine. The fine varies depending upon the BAC of the convicted person, as well as whether or not there was an additional offense committed (for example, those who commit a DUI with a minor in the vehicle will have a more significant fine assessed). For a first-time conviction, the fine is between $500 and $1000.
- Jail time: While it is rare for a person under the age of 21 to have to spend time in jail for a DUI offense, it does happen. Typically, this will only be ordered by the judge if the BAC of the driver was above .08%, and will not be for more than a six-month period.
- Community service: Finally, a judge may order a minor who is convicted of a DUI to perform community service. Up to 50 hours is standard.
One of the most oppressive things about a DUI conviction for a minor is not any of the penalties listed above, but rather the fact that a DUI can affect a minor’s ability to get a job, go to college, and pursue other opportunities.
If your teenager is facing DUI charges in Florida, you need a skilled criminal attorney on your side who understands the law and the potential penalties your child is facing and is ready to advocate for you. When you call our law office, we will work hard to develop your teenager’s defense to secure the best possible case outcome. Reach us today by phone, or send us a confidential message using the intake form on our website today.