If you receive charges for an underage DUI in Florida, you are likely wondering what the penalties are and what defense an attorney can form for you to avoid a conviction. These are both common questions, as getting a DUI under 21 years old can have a negative impact on your life well into the future. The most important thing to do is hire a lawyer for a defense lawyer for an underage DUI charge immediately. Doing so may help you avoid the most severe consequences of a conviction.
Criminal defense attorney Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal is the attorney to turn to if you find yourself in this situation. With years of experience fighting DUI charges in court, he will fight tirelessly in your defense. Contact Mr. Shafran at 888-626-1108 for a free case evaluation today.
When you contact Weinstein Legal, there will be a team working on your case right away. The prosecutor's office and law enforcement are already forming their case against you. Do not let them have an unfair advantage. When you hire legal representation, you have the best chance of protecting your rights and having a favorable outcome in court. Remember, you never have to answer the questions of police officers or the prosecutor's office without an attorney present.
Underage DUI Defined According to Florida Law
Getting a DUI under 21 years old in the state of Florida is known as an underage DUI. What this means is that law enforcement arrests you for driving under the influence of alcohol (though you can also receive a DUI for driving on prescription medication).
The legal drinking age is 21 years old, and it is illegal not just to drive after consuming alcohol if you are younger, but illegal to drink at all. For a person over the age of 21, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08%. What this means is that if a police officer stops an individual and administers a field sobriety test via Breathalyzer, they may blow up to 0.08% and avoid arrest. This is not the case for individuals under the age of 21.
In the state of Florida, if you are younger than 21 years old, your blood alcohol content cannot exceed 0.02%. What this means is that even after just one or two drinks, you are likely considered impaired to drive by law. Officers may arrest you and charge you with an underage DUI.
Penalties for an Underage DUI in Florida
Just as a person over the age of 21 may lose their driver's license upon conviction for a DUI, getting a DUI under 21 years old will also likely result in the loss of your license. If it is your first offense, you will face a six month suspension period. If you receive a second offense, you may lose your license for as long as one year.
Additionally, a judge will likely order you to pay significant fines and court costs. They may impound your vehicle, which means you will also have to pay to get it out of the impound lot, where charges increase for each day it is there. A judge can sentence you to community service, probation, and even jail time.
Don't take these chances alone in court. Hire an attorney who can help prove your innocence and avoid these steep consequences.
The Impact of an Underage DUI Conviction
DUIs are criminal traffic offenses in the state of Florida. This means that if you receive a conviction for getting a DUI under 21 years of age, you will have a criminal record. You are still young and have much of your life ahead of you. You do not want to have a criminal record holding you back from what you can accomplish.
You may become limited in your employment options, particularly if you want to apply to an organization that requires you to drive as part of your job. Furthermore, anyone who runs a background check on you will be able to see your conviction. This can damage your reputation significantly. Additionally, if law enforcement finds that your blood alcohol content is particularly high, you may have to attend an alcohol rehabilitation program.
If a judge orders you to complete a rehabilitation program, you may miss time from school, have to spend time away from your family and friends and face losing your job if you are currently employed.
How to Contest an Underage DUI in Florida
If you are facing charges for getting a DUI under 21 years old, you need the best legal team on your side fighting to contest the charge. All hope is not lost if you receive a charge for drinking and driving, no matter how old you are. However, you must have an attorney who will fight to protect your rights and establish a strong defense. The most common defense strategies to fight a DUI case are as follows:
Illegal Stops and Alcohol Influence Reports
Defense strategies that an experienced attorney may employ include proving that a police officer did not legally stop you. Other possible defense strategies include reviewing the officer's Alcohol Influence Report, which they are required to complete by law and looking for discrepancies or parts of the report that are not indisputable evidence.
Miranda Rights and the Right to Legal Counsel
Still, a defense attorney may be able to prove that the police did not read you your rights upon arrest, or that they did not advise you that you have the right to legal counsel before questioning. These rights are known as Miranda Rights. If you are not read your Miranda Rights and answer incriminating questions to law enforcement, this confession is not admissible in a court of law.
Fighting a Field Sobriety Test
Under Florida law, all drivers accept what is known as implied consent. This means that whenever you operate a motor vehicle, you agree to submit to a field sobriety test if the police pull you over under the suspicion that you are driving under the influence. However, an underage DUI defense lawyer can argue the findings of the results in court, including whether or not proper breathalyzing procedures took place.
Negotiation of Charges
To negotiate the charges against you before appearing in court, you must have an excellent DUI attorney on your side. It may be possible to reduce your charges to a less serious offense, avoiding the revocation of your driver's license and a permanent criminal record.
Hiring an Attorney for Underage DUI Charges in South Florida
If you are facing charges for an underage DUI in West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, FL, contact our criminal defense attorney immediately. There are ways to fight your case in court, and you do not have to accept the first offer a prosecutor presents. Consulting with an attorney is always the best route to take.
You may be able to avoid serious, lasting ramifications of being convicted after getting a DUI under 21 years of age. There are many possible defense strategies that only a well-versed lawyer will know to present. It could help you avoid jail time, severe fines, the loss of your license, or having to spend time at an alcohol rehabilitation center.
Weinstein Legal is available 24-hours a day, 365-days a year, to provide you with a free case evaluation. You will have around-the-clock access to your attorney, and your legal team will keep you informed on new developments in your case every step of the way.
For a FREE case evaluation, contact Weinstein Legal at 954-845-0505 for help with your underage DUI charges. We handle cases involving underage DUI charges throughout South Florida including both Palm Beach & Broward County.