No matter your age, driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. However, if you are under 21 and charged with a DUI offense, there are several consequences that you might face if you are convicted. This article will discuss what a DUI is, the penalties you may face if charged and convicted of an underage DUI, and what to do if you have been charged with an underage DUI offense in Florida.
Finding An Attorney For Underage DUI Offenses In Florida
The consequences of an underage DUI conviction can be severe. The effects of such a conviction can follow you for the rest of your life. However, with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to have those consequences reduced or even removed. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Koberlein Law Offices have experience with DUI offenses in Gainesville, Live Oak, Lake City, and the greater Florida area. If you find yourself charged with an underage DUI offense, we are here to help. The experienced attorneys at Koberlein Law Offices are ready to represent you and fight for your interests. If you or someone you know has been charged with a minor DUI offense, call us toll-free at 877.556.2889 or visit us at our website to schedule your initial case consultation.
What Constitutes A DUI In Florida?
In Florida, no one is allowed to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Florida, if you are under the legal drinking age of 21, you may not have a blood alcohol content, or BAC, of more than 0.02. If you have a BAC of 0.02 while driving and you are arrested, you will be charged with an underage DUI. Additionally, if you are 21 years or older and have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher at the time of your arrest, you are legally impaired under Florida law.
When you are under the influence of intoxicants like drugs and alcohol, your ability to drive is impaired. Depending on the level of your impairment, you may be unable to prevent automobile accidents from happening. In some cases, you might even be the cause of them. This impairment can cause you to have reduced reflexes or awareness to be able to avoid causing an automobile accident.
We often take for granted just how dangerous driving can be. When driving a vehicle, you are operating a two-ton (or more) hunk of metal and glass capable of traveling at high speeds. Even when the driver is fully sober, an innocent and straightforward mistake while driving can have severe and sometimes deadly consequences. The amount of damage or harm that can result from an automobile accident can be extreme; involving drugs and alcohol only increases the chances of causing harm to yourself and others. If Florida law enforcement has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence, Florida law allows them to request that you submit to a chemical test.
What Are The Penalties For An Underage DUI Conviction?
Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol apply when you have been stopped while driving with a BAC at or above the legal limit. Similar consequences will apply if you are driving while under the influence of drugs. The severity of your charges depends on your conduct during an arrest and the number of times you have been previously convicted of underage DUI offenses. Depending on how many times you have been arrested for a DUI, your penalties will vary. However, if you are a first-time offender, there are several penalties that you could face. These penalties include:
- Court-ordered community service
- Substance abuse counseling
- Up to six months suspension of your drivers’ license
- Up to six months in jail
- Fines up to $1,000
If you choose not to submit to a breathalyzer test, you could have your license suspended for up to a year. In addition, if you have a BAC of 0.08 or higher at the time of your arrest, you could be charged and possibly convicted of the same penalties as an adult drunk driver. If convicted of an underage DUI offense, you will likely be unable to seal those records or remove the conviction from your criminal record. As a result, your conviction will remain on your criminal record. This means that individuals or entities like potential employers or leasing agencies for apartments will be able to see your conviction. In some cases, the conviction on your record can prevent you from obtaining housing or employment opportunities.
Hiring An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney In Florida
If you or someone you know has been charged with an underage DUI, you must act quickly to protect your interests. If you do not act fast, your conviction could remain on your record and affect your future. Handling these charges alone can be overwhelming. When these cases happen, it is best to have a knowledgeable and capable advocate on your side. Hiring an attorney for your underage DUI case will provide you with an advocate who can help you fight the conviction. The criminal defense attorneys at Koberlein Law Offices have the skills and expertise to defend you in court. If you have been arrested or have been charged with an underage DUI and need representation, call us toll-free at 877.556.2889 or visit us at our website to schedule your initial consultation.