If you or someone you know has been charged with underage DUI in Florida, you will need the best DUI attorney near you to help you with your case. The dedicated underage DUI defense lawyers at Weinstein Legal have the experience and knowledge you will need to get the best possible outcome for an underage DUI charge in the state of Florida.
In Broward County, the county sheriff's office estimates that alcohol-related fatalities in the state of Florida have increased by one-third over the last 20 years, and therefore statewide law enforcement agencies take DUI prevention very seriously. Some counties have DUI-specific task forces that have special DUI checkpoints, Breath Alcohol Testing Technicians, and Breath Alcohol Testing video recording technology.
Criminal Penalties for Underage DUI in Florida
Whether you are a resident of Florida or not, if you are driving in the state, it's important to know Florida's laws regarding driving and underage drinking.
In the state of Florida, the legal drinking age is 21. Anyone under that age who is found to have a blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level of 0.02 or higher cannot legally drive or be in control of a vehicle. This means that it is possible to exceed the legal limit of .02 blood alcohol level with just one alcoholic drink.
According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, the state has a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that any driver under 21 who is stopped by law enforcement and has a blood alcohol level of 0.02 or higher will automatically have their Florida driver's license suspended for six months.
If a driver is convicted of their first DUI, penalties in Florida are:
- Fine — $500 to $1000 (with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher or minor in vehicle)
- Community Service — 50 hours
- Probation — for not more than one year
- Imprisonment — for not more than six months; if the blood alcohol level is above 0.08 with a minor in the vehicle, imprisonment should not exceed nine months
- License revocation — for a minimum of 180 days
- DUI school — 12 Hours
If a second, third, or fourth DUI charge is incurred, the penalties increase dramatically.
The Florida DMV also states that penalties for a first DUI conviction in Florida increase dramatically if the blood alcohol level is 0.15 or higher, or if a minor is in the vehicle. In these cases, an Ignition Interlock Device may be installed for at least six continuous months.
An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is required by law in many different states after a DUI conviction. An Ignition Interlock system is an in-car breathalyzer device that is installed to prohibit an individual under the influence of alcohol from operating the vehicle.
How does an IID work?
- The driver breathes into the device to start the motor vehicle.
- Five minutes later, the device beeps again and the driver must breathe into the IID.
- About every 30 minutes, the IID beeps and the driver must breathe into it.
- Each time the driver breathes into the IID the data is recorded and transmitted to the Florida DMV; these reports are available on the internet.
How long can someone convicted of an underage DUI expect to have an IID installed in their vehicle? It depends on the number of convictions. Here's how that looks:
- For a first DUI conviction, an IID is installed only if court-ordered. If the blood alcohol level is 0.20 or if there is a minor in the car, the IID must be used for up to six months.
- For a second DUI conviction, an IID is installed for at least one year. If the blood alcohol level is 0.20 or if there is a minor in the car, then the time frame for using the IID is at least two years.
- For a third DUI conviction, the IID must be installed and utilized for at least two years.
Florida Statutes Section 322.2616: What You Need to Know
What is Florida Statutes Section 322.2616? And how will it affect you if you're facing a charge of underage DUI in the state of Florida?
Here are some key parts of this law you need to know:
- A law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that a vehicle is under the control of a person who is under the age of 21 while under the influence of alcohol may lawfully detain that person, and request that person submit to a test to determine their blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level.
- Your driving privileges can be suspended if a) your blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level is 0.02 or higher or b) if you refuse to submit to a blood-alcohol test. The state of Florida has an implied consent law; this means that when you got your driver's license, you agreed to take these tests when asked to do so by a member of law enforcement.
- If you are under the age of 18 and found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.02 or higher, a police officer can take you immediately to the addictions receiving facility in the county where you were stopped.
There are many more provisions in Florida Statutes Section 322.2616 that can impact you depending on the details of your charges and what happened after you were stopped. That's why you should hire an experienced attorney who knows the law thoroughly and has the best defense strategies for an underage DUI charge in the state of Florida.
Hiring A Defense Attorney For Your Underage DUI Charge In Florida
It's overwhelming to think of all the things you need to do when you are charged with an underage DUI, but hiring an experienced attorney who will aggressively defend you is the first thing to do. Just because an attorney is experienced in criminal defense, it doesn't mean they are experienced in defending DUI cases, much less underage DUI cases.
Matt Shafran of Weinstein Legal has years of experience defending clients against underage DUI charges and provides the best possible defense in Palm Beach County, Orange County, and Broward County. Our team our defense attorneys is well-versed in the complexity of underage DUI defense, and we always present a convincing case or make the best plea deal possible for your unique circumstances.
When considering your best choice for a defense lawyer to represent you in an underage DUI charge, know that Weinstein Legal leaves no stone unturned when it comes to exploring all the factors involved in your case.
We investigate such factors as:
- Was there sufficient probable cause to stop you in the first place?
- Was the field sobriety test administered to you properly?
- Was the equipment that measured your blood alcohol level properly calibrated and maintained?
- Was your driving at the time affected by prescription drugs or any health problems?
Taking these factors and many other details into consideration, we will not stop till we have achieved the best possible outcome for you. Contact the Weinstein Legal Team today to learn more about how our dedicated defense lawyers can help you against your underage DUI charge.