No person is allowed to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within Florida while he or she is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, and individuals under 21 years of age are prohibited from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages. Florida considers itself a “zero tolerance” state when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) offenses, and minors can be arrested for DUI even when they have blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) that are below the legal limit for adults.
Any arrest has the potential to dramatically impact the life of a minor, but underage DUI offenses can often cause several additional complications in the life of an alleged offender. Minors can face traditional DUI charges and stiffer penalties in adult criminal court when they are accused of having BACs that are 0.08 or higher.Lawyer for Underage DUI Arrests in Broward County, FL
If you or your child were arrested anywhere in Broward County for an alleged underage DUI offense, it is in your best interest to not delay in seeking legal representation. The Hoffman Firm defends minors accused of drunk driving or other juvenile offenses in communities all over South Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, Margate, Dania Beach, Lauderhill, Hallandale Beach, and many others.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman is a former Assistant State Attorney for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (954) 524-4474 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Fort Lauderdale Underage DUI Information Center
- What is the BAC limit for minors in Florida?
- How can minors be punished for BAC violations?
- Where can I learn more about underage DUI in Broward County?
Underage DUI Charges in Florida
An alleged offender commits DUI under Florida Statute § 316.193 when he or she drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle within Florida and either is under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired or has a BAC of 0.08 or more. Florida Statute § 322.2616(1), however, provides that it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 who has a BAC of 0.02 or higher to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.
Florida Statute § 322.2616(19) states that violations of this statute are neither traffic infractions nor criminal offenses, nor does being detained pursuant to this section constitute being arrested. Instead, violations of Florida Statute § 322.2616 are subject to the administrative action provisions of the statute, which are administered by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles through its administrative processes.
If a minor has a BAC of 0.08 or greater, he or she can be charged with DUI and have his or her case prosecuted in criminal court.
Broward County Underage DUI Penalties
When a minor has a BAC of 0.02 or higher, a law enforcement officer or correctional officer will suspend the driving privilege of the alleged offender, take his or her driver license, and issue a 10-day temporary driving permit if the minor is otherwise eligible for the driving privilege. If a minor provides a breath sample that results in a BAC of 0.02 or more, his or her license will be suspended as follows:
- First Violation — Six months; or
- Second or Subsequent Violation — One year.
If a minor refuses to submit to a chemical DUI test, his or her license will be suspended for one year for a first refusal or 18 months if his or her driving privilege was previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit to a test. Alleged offenders have 10 days to request a formal or informal review of the suspension by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Minors who are arrested for having BACs of 0.08 or higher can face traditional DUI charges. Convictions in those cases carry much steeper penalties, including possible jail time and fines.
Florida Underage DUI Resources
Fighting Drunk Driving & Underage Drinking | Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility — The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (responsibility.org) claims to lead the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking, and promote responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol. On this website, you can view alcohol-related statistics and read about policies in Florida and other states. You can also find infographics, press releases, and videos.
Florida State Report | Stop Underage Drinking — View the full text of a 2013 report on the Prevention and reduction of underage drinking that was submitted to Congress s by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The report provides a state profile and underage drinking facts in Florida as well as laws addressing minors in possession of alcohol and laws targeting underage drinking and driving. According to this report, 19.0 percent of all traffic fatalities in Florida were attributed to 15- to 20-year-old drivers with a BAC of more than 0.01.
Were you or your child recently arrested for an underage DUI offense anywhere in South Florida? You should avoid making any kind of statement to authorities without legal counsel. The Hoffman Firm can fight to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who represents individuals in Sunrise, Davie, Plantation, Deerfield Beach, Pembroke Pines, and many surrounding areas of Broward County. Call (954) 524-4474 or submit an online contact form to have our attorney review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.