Driving under the influence (DUI) is not just a crime that can be charged against adults. Minors can also be arrested if they have consumed alcohol and gotten behind the wheel. The standards and penalties for an underage DUI are much stricter than for an adult. It has the potential to affect college application, scholarships, housing, job opportunities, and more for teenagers who do not always comprehend the seriousness of the crime.
Underage DUI Law
According to Fla. Stat. 322.2616, “it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 who has a blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level of 0.02% or higher to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.” The level is much lower for minors than for adults, which under the law is 0.08%. This is because it is the state’s public policy to minimize the amount of teenage drinking and driving out on the roads as well as because a person is not allowed to legally consume alcohol until they reach the age of 21 years old.
Penalties for Underage DUI
There is usually a zero tolerance policy for underage DUI when it comes to the administrative hearing and driver’s license. For a first underage DUI offense, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months and a second or subsequent DUI arrest elevates the suspension to one year. If the minor refuses to take a chemical test during the first offense, the driver’s license is suspended for one year and is elevated to 18 months for a second or subsequent arrest.
If the minor arrested for DUI has a blood alcohol level of 0.05% or higher, the driver’s license is taken away immediately and may not be reinstated until the teenager has completed an alcohol education course. For an underage DUI, a teen may be able to apply for a hardship license, but it cannot be applied for until at least 30 days have elapsed since the suspension of the license. If granted, the license only allows for the teen to drive for business or employment purposes.
Additional penalties may be imposed on a minor who is convicted for driving under the influence. In addition to having the driver’s license suspended, the court can also impose other punishments for the crime. Jail time, probation, DUI school, community service, fines, court costs, and more can all be imposed for the DUI. Furthermore, the insurance premiums for the teen will either skyrocket or the insurance company may drop the policy. Under law, every driver is required to carry auto insurance or face additional traffic crimes.