Tampa Underage DUI Lawyers
DUI Defense Attorneys Serving Tampa Since 2001
Florida takes the safety of those on the road seriously, whether they are pedestrians, cyclists, or drivers. The state puts numerous laws in place to protect people, especially against drunk drivers. Regardless of whether you are 18 or 80, the law enforces strict penalties for drivers under the influence. Even as an underage or juvenile driver, you could face severe repercussions, thanks to Florida's zero-tolerance policy.
Florida’s Zero Tolerance Policy
Florida has a zero-tolerance policy on underage alcohol consumption. Despite its strict laws, 9.5% of all the alcohol sold in Florida is consumed by underage individuals. Penalties for violating these laws are severe. However, they can be reduced or dismissed with the help of the right Tampa DUI attorney.
If a minor was drinking and driving, they could be charged with DUI—even if they only had a single drink. The legal limit for BAC is reduced to 0.02% for underage drivers. While the effects may vary depending on the weight and size, even one drink can cause a BAC level of 0.02. The stakes are much higher for Floridians facing charges of underage DUI. Not only will the sentence have an immediate impact, but it can affect the individual’s future in many negative ways. It is critical that you take every measure to lessen or dismiss the charge.
Penalties for DUI Under 21
A person under 21 found with a BAC of more than 0.02% will have their driver's license suspended for at least 6 months for their first offense. For a second conviction, the license will be suspended for at least 1 year. If the DUI test revealed a BAC of 0.05 or more, the license will be suspended indefinitely until the individual has completed the court-ordered substance abuse course. For persons under the age of 19, the results of the substance abuse evaluation will be released to their parents or legal guardian. If the person fails the evaluation, their license will remain suspended until they pass. If they refuse to the DUI test, their license will be suspended for a year.
Penalties for DUI Under 18
A DUI committed by a minor will be processed as a juvenile offense. In addition to DUI penalties, minors convicted of DUI will be subject to admittance into addictions receiving facility in the county where they were arrested. While they will not be tried as adults in most cases, minors convicted of DUI will face sentences including time served in juvenile hall, court fines, and traffic courses.
Long-Term Effects of an Underage DUI
If you are applying to colleges, a DUI will affect your educational opportunities. Some colleges will not give a scholarship to applicants with criminal records, and many college sports teams will not allow people with criminal records to join. If you’re applying for a college scholarship, and it’s between you and another applicant with a spotless record, a DUI can be a deal-breaker. DUI can also affect individuals seeking professional licenses for nursing, law, and other occupations. Are you planning on joining the U.S. Armed Forces? If so, a DUI conviction may affect your ability to join. If you can join, the DUI may affect your opportunities for advancement. Hope to have a security clearance one day? Know that a DUI can affect your future opportunities.
If you or a child was charged with underage DUI, either as an adult or as a minor, turn to our experienced Tampa DUI lawyers. Thomas & Paulk has successfully handled more than 7,000 cases, so speak with us as soon as possible to learn about your rights and options.
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