If you’re under 21 and have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, then you could be facing severe penalties and a juvenile criminal record.
The best thing you can do now is to hire a Florida DUI defense attorney. Doing so can help you build a defense that at best gets the charges dropped and, at worst, gives you a fighting chance to minimize the penalties.
We regularly get calls from parents whose children have been arrested for DUI in Florida and quickly learn that their arrest was unlawful. We welcome you to receive a free consultation today.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Florida if You’re Under 21?
The State of Florida has a ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy designed to drastically reduce the number of underage drunk drivers in Florida.
The severity and details of the penalties you may get will depend on the circumstances of your arrest.
Under 21 Driver, With a BAC of 0.02% Or Above:
If you’ve been arrested for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.02%, you could face:
- A suspended license for 6 months (first-time offense)
- A suspended license for 1 year (second-time offense)
- Enrollment in an alcohol education program.
Under 21 Driver, With a BAC of 0.08% Or Above:
If you’ve been arrested for driving with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.08%, you will face the same penalties as if you were aged 21 or older. These penalties become severe.
- Fines of between $500 to $1,000.
- A suspended license for between 180 days to 1 year.
- Impounded vehicle
- Incarceration in county jail for up to 6 months.
- 50 hours of community service.
Under 21 Driver Arrested for Refusing Breath or Blood Test
If you refuse to perform a breath or blood test, you refuse to reveal your BAC. Doing so could see you face:
- A suspended license for 1 year.
- A suspended licenses for 18 months (if the second or subsequent refusal)
Do First-Time Dui Offenders Go to Jail in Florida?
First-time DUI offenders under the age of 21 will only face jail time if their blood alcohol concentration was recorded as 0.08% or above. However the individual may face jail time for additional charges, such as possession of alcohol while aged under 21.
Arrested for Driving Under the Influence if You’re Aged Under 18
Minors younger than 18 arrested for a first-time offense for DUI in Florida with a BAC of 0.02% will usually face a 6 month suspended license. They will also likely need to complete an alcohol education program.
Arrested for Possessing Alcohol Aged Under 21
Possessing alcohol while under 21 is also illegal in Florida, so you may face charges for transporting alcohol even if you are sober.
If you’ve been arrested for possessing alcohol while aged under 21, you may face the following penalties:
1st Time Conviction Penalties
- 2nd-degree misdemeanor
- $500 fine
- 60 days jail time (or 6-month probation period)
- 6-12 month licenses suspension
2nd Time Conviction Penalties
- 1st-degree misdemeanor
- $1,000 fine
- 1 year jail time (or 12-month probation period)
- 2-year license suspension
The Impact of an Underage DUI in Florida
License suspension and alcohol education programs will be irritating enough, but anyone convicted of driving under the influence aged under 21 will likely face serious consequences and difficulties throughout their life.
With the creation of a juvenile criminal record, the individual will likely struggle to get accepted into colleges and universities, qualify for scholarships, serve in the military or gain a license to carry a firearm. You may also struggle with employment and housing.
Those with a criminal record may also see their reputation tarnished in the local community.
Thankfully there are ways to get your criminal record expunged, so you can protect your future without this mistake hanging over your head.
Anyone facing charges for DUI in Florida should contact a Florida DUI defense attorney immediately.
What Should I Do Next After a DUI Arrest in Florida?
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Florida, your license will be revoked. You’ll be handed a temporary license which is valid for 10 days.
These 10 days give you time to make three decisions:
- Do nothing
- Request an appeal hearing
- Plead guilty to the charges
What if I Do Nothing?
If you don’t act, you will be banned from driving for between 30 to 90 days and have a criminal record. You will later have the chance to request a hardship license, which provides you the freedom to drive to work, church, school and other locations that are deemed essential.
What if I Request a Hearing?
Those who request a hearing for a DUI in Florida will receive a 45-day temporary license, allowing you to drive to essential locations.
You will then face a court hearing to defend your innocence and get the charges dropped.
If you win, your license will be reinstated and your name will be cleared of the DUI charge.
What if I Plead Guilty?
Anyone aged under 21 who pleads guilty can request a hardship license immediately but will face severe penalties and a criminal record.
Should I Hire a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney?
Yes. We welcome anyone charged with a DUI in Florida to contact us for a free consultation immediately.
It’s not rare for young people to get arrested unlawfully and in these cases, we can get the charges dropped.
The arresting officer must have had probable cause to justify stopping you on suspicion of driving. They must also conduct sobriety and BAC tests properly and any failure to do so can get the case thrown out completely.
If you have no defense for your mistake, then we can work to buy you some leniency from the judge by showing you’re taking responsibility for your behavior – by, for example, voluntarily attending alcoholic addiction groups or DUI school.
Florida Drunk Driver Statistics
- Total Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Each Year: 814
- Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Each Year: 68
- Arrest for Minors DUI Each Year: 69
- Total DUI Arrests Each Year: 32,127
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney in Florida
If you’re a parent whose child is facing charges after an arrest in Florida or have been arrested for a DUI in Florida yourself, then we can help. Our Florida criminal defense attorneys can fight on your behalf to help you avoid jail time and avoid a criminal record.
Ranger Jackson is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Pinellas County. He is a partner at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with the reputation and connections to make things happen.
With decades of experience helping people like you, we believe there is no better place to help you fight criminal charges in Florida.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300