You’re at a party, and a friend pressures you to have a drink. The only problem? You’re not of legal drinking age. Still, you take the drink and then decide to drive home–only to get pulled over for drinking and driving.
The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old, yet much of America’s youth experiments with drinking before they reach this age. Recent statistics show that 45% of teenagers have been drunk at least once by the time they reach 12th grade.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense, and the rules are even stricter for underage drinkers than for those over the legal age. The legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit in America for people over 21 is .08%. But underage teens can get a DUI with a BAC of just .02%. That’s equivalent to about one drink.
Florida state penalties
Depending on the severity of the offense, penalties for underage drinking and driving will vary. First-time underage offenders with a BAC of .02% can face a six-month suspension of driving privileges. First-time underage offenders with a BAC of .05% must complete a substance abuse course and cannot obtain driving privileges until finishing the course. Additionally, non-compliance with a breathalyzer test can result in suspension of driving privileges for one year. Other penalties after receiving a first-time underage DUI charge include:
- Fines and court costs
- Community service hours
- Additional misdemeanor charges
- Suspension or expulsion from school
- Other academic consequences
An underage DUI charge is a serious offense and may affect your future. Talking with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options for minimizing your penalties.