DUI Under 21 Years of Age
Driving Under the Influence is treated as a serious offense by most prosecutors in the state of Florida. DUIs issued to those under the legal drinking age of 21 are taken even more seriously. Florida exercises a zero-tolerance policy for underaged drinking and driving. That means that any individual who is under the age of 21 found operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.02% or higher will be arrested and charged with DUI. The legal BAC limit for adults over the age of 21 in Florida is 0.08%, or 0.04% if they are over 21 and operating a commercial vehicle. DUI Under 21 is a very severe charge that usually ends in license suspension and conviction, however an experienced DUI attorney can help reduce or dismiss your charges. The attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm have been examining and fighting DUI charges for over 10 years with continued success. In 2012, our firm was awarded the prestigious Hat Trick Award for three consecutive “not guilty” verdicts in DUI cases.
All states in the United States currently prohibit the consumption of alcohol by any person under the age of 21. The minimum legal drinking age in the United States was raised from 18 to 21 pursuant to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. Although drunk driving is illegal for everybody, those who are under the minimum legal drinking age have a much slimmer margin for error. Florida law enforcement officers conducting traffic stops are required to respect the rights of the drivers of all ages, however if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired regardless of their age then a field sobriety test will be issued. It is then up to the discretion of the officer whether or not the individual in question is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the officer requires that the underaged driver submit to a breath test, and their BAC concentration is found to be 0.02% or above, they will be charged with DUI Under 21 and possibly having their license suspended for up to six months. Should they refuse a breath test, their license will be automatically suspended for up to one year.
Florida Law Enforcement takes DUI very seriously, especially since DUI claimed over 10,000 Floridian lives in 2012 alone. Unlike other misdemeanor crimes, diversion programs are not likely to be offered to those charged with DUI Under 21. The reality is that getting pulled over while under the influence will likely result in an arrest. First-time DUI in the state of Florida is a misdemeanor, punishable by:
- Jail time
- Driver’s license suspension
- Community service
- DUI school
- Mandatory counseling
- Vehicle impoundment
- House arrest
The State treats DUI offenders the same regardless of age. Second and third time DUI charges are enhanced from a misdemeanor to a felony. If the person charged with DUI has a minor in the car, it can also be upgraded to a felony DUI. Since DUI has caused so many fatal accidents in Florida, the State prosecutes violators to the fullest extent of the law on a regular basis as a means of deterring others from committing the same crime. Penalties for repeat DUI offenders are much more severe:
- Vehicle impoundment
- Up to 90 days in jail, 10 days mandatory minimum
- Up to 12 months probation
- Driver’s license suspended 5 years
- Ignition interlock device
- DUI School Level 2
One’s best defense against DUI Under 21 is an experience DUI attorney who can properly challenge the evidence presented against you. Evidence that is illegally obtained cannot be used against you in court, so a good DUI lawyer will scrutinize every detail of the arresting officer’s conduct to seek out any errors they might have made. The officer must have a reason to initiate a traffic stop and probable cause to conduct a field sobriety test. If the defendant exhibited no signs of impairment but was tested anyway, any evidence of DUI thereafter is deemed inadmissible in court. Call the South Florida DUI attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm for a strong defense against a DUI Under 21 charge.
If you or your child are under 21 and have been charged with Driving Under the Influence Under 21, call The Ansara Law Firm within 10 days of suspension to request that our attorneys challenge the evidence used against you.