Penalties for an Underage DUI in Florida
Drinking before you’re legally old enough is common for many college students and other young people. Maybe you only had one drink, or maybe you were just leaving a party after a night of fun with your friends. Now, you’ve been pulled over, and one fun night may have just turned into a months-long nightmare.
When you’re accused of an underage DUI in Florida, know what to expect from your case before you get started. Knowing the penalties for an underage DUI can help you prepare for your case and work to avoid these harsh penalties.
Distinct Penalties for Underage Drivers
When you’re pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, your age won’t protect you from the typical penalties of a DUI conviction. If you don’t defend your case, you’ll be facing the same penalties a driver over twenty-one would face.
But Florida police officers have an additional option to penalize underage drivers called “Florida’s Zero-Tolerance Law.” This may come into play if the police officer has reason to suspect that you were drinking but doesn’t know for sure if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the normal legal limit.
Fines and Economic Penalties
One of the many long-term impacts of any DUI conviction is the financial burden of being convicted. If you’re convicted of drinking and driving, whether you’re underage or not, you may be paying thousands of dollars for fines.
As a younger driver, that can be especially difficult because many younger people don’t have full-time jobs or have low-paying jobs. That puts the financial strain on your family and you for some time after you’re pulled over. That can impact your ability to attend school and meet other major financial obligations.
If you’re charged with a DUI while under twenty-one, you can expect to lose your driving privileges for some time. Similarly, even a first-time violation of Florida’s Zero-Tolerance Law may cause you to lose your license for six months if your BAC is over 0.02 percent. If your BAC is over 0.05, you may have to complete courses to be eligible to get your license back.
If you refuse a sobriety test, you can still lose your license, even if you were sober. If you refuse to accept a breath, blood, or urine test, your license may be suspended for one year for a first-time offense.
Ignition Interlock Device
Some DUI convictions may require you to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle prior to getting your license back. For example, if you are convicted of a first-time DUI and your BAC was over 0.15, then you will be required to have an IID for a period of at least six months. If you are convicted of a second DUI, you will be required to have an IID for a period of at least one year.
These devices prevent you from starting your vehicle until you pass a sobriety test. This device is meant to prevent drinking and driving, but it can be embarrassing and difficult to deal with, especially if you have passengers or if you’re running late. On top of the embarrassment, these devices are expensive, and drivers should expect to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of the requirement.
Defend Your License with an Underage DUI Lawyer from Hersem Law
The penalties for a DUI conviction or a violation of Florida’s Zero-Tolerance Law can make your life more difficult, which makes it challenging to return to your normal life. But you don’t have to accept the penalties and move on.
You can instead turn to the aid of Hersem Law. When you take advantage of one of our free strategy sessions, we can help you identify the best ways for you to avoid harsh penalties for an underage DUI. When you’re ready to speak with a lawyer, call 813-251-7291 or fill out the following online contact form.