Drinking while under the age of 21 is illegal under any circumstances, but if an underage drinker is caught behind the wheel while intoxicated, the repercussions could be even more serious. Even though drivers 21 years or older are considered intoxicated when their blood alcohol concentration, BAC, is .08% or higher, an underage driver can be arrested for DUI if found with a BAC of .02% or higher.
If your child was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, make sure you know what consequences they may face and find out how you can protect their future.
About Underage DUI
In Florida, underage drinking is not taken lightly, nor are DUI charges. Whether the driver was pulled over individually, recovered after a crash, or checked through a DUI checkpoint, the sequence of events is generally the same. The officer will ask to perform a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test. If the driver is found to be intoxicated, he or she will be arrested and taken down to the police station, where additional tests to ascertain the driver’s BAC may be administered.
Consequences of an Underage DUI
Drivers under the age of 21 who are found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could face serious penalties for their actions. Depending on the driver’s BAC and whether or not there was any damage or anyone injured as a result of the driver’s actions, the repercussions could vary.
For a first offense, the underage driver could have their driver’s license suspended for up to 6 months, whereas second offenses could be punishable by a year-long suspension.
If the driver refuses to submit to a blood or breath test, their driver’s license will be suspended for a year, and subsequent refusals could result in an 18-month suspension. Drivers who are especially young, under the age of 18, will also be required to take a mandatory evaluation at an addictions facility or must complete an alcohol education program.
Additionally, if the driver was found with a BAC of .08% or above, they could face the same penalties drivers over the age of 21 would. These penalties may include hefty fines, drivers’ license suspension, vehicle impoundment, mandatory community service, and incarceration for up to 6 months.
Was your child charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Our firm has ample experience working with DUI cases, and we also handle juvenile crime defense if your child is under the age of 18. We understand what is at stake and we want to help you protect your child’s future by minimizing the penalties and doing what we can to keep their record clean.
Contact Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. to get started on your criminal defense case today with our West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers.