Any Floridian who is arrested for driving under the influence will likely face a series of harsh consequences if they are convicted. In general, that can include a suspension of driving privileges, jail time, fines and more. Depending on the situation, they might even be required to have an ignition interlock device placed on the vehicle. For those who are under age 21 and are legally prohibited from drinking alcohol, the penalties differ, but might still have a life-changing impact. Those in this situation should understand the importance of a comprehensive legal defense for DUI charges.
Blood-alcohol levels and penalties for under-21 DUI
The DUI laws for people under 21 differ from the laws for those 21 and older. If a person under 21 is found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.02 or higher and was in control of a motor vehicle, the law enforcement officer has certain options. The officer can immediately suspend the person’s driver license. In addition, if the driver is suspected of committing a DUI and refuses to take a test to determine the blood-alcohol level, the license can also be immediately suspended. The license will be taken away there and then and a 10-day temporary permit will be given if it is applicable.
If the driver refused to take a breath test, the license is suspended for one year if it is a first refusal. If it is a second offense, it will be for 18 months. If the driver was under 21 and either driving or in control of the vehicle with the blood-alcohol level of at least 0.02, a first violation will result in a six-month suspension; if there was a prior suspension, the subsequent suspension will be for one year. Drivers can ask for a review within 10 days. The temporary license will not be effective for 12 hours from the time it is issued. Drivers who register a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 will be suspended from driving until they take part in a substance abuse course.
People under 21 facing DUI charges should have a strong legal defense
A driver license suspension for DUI or refusing to take a breath test can cause myriad problems to a person under 21 in Florida. The penalties can increase in severity depending on the circumstances. For example, it will likely be worse if there was an accident with property damage or others suffering injury or death. To avoid the stigma of a driver license suspension and other challenges that accompany DUI charges for those under 21, having experienced legal assistance can scrutinize the case and seek a successful outcome.