The State of Florida has stricter penalties for DUI offenses than some other states. However, Florida is not a zero-tolerance state for most drivers. Only motorists under the age of 21 have zero-tolerance laws applied to them. Having just one drink can result in an automatic license suspension for underage motorists.
It is important, especially for out of state drivers, to understand what Florida’s drunk driving laws are and what the penalties might be if they are under 21. Although most states have a BAC limit of .08, some do not employ a zero-tolerance law for underage drivers. Even if you are from another state, a license suspension in Florida will follow you home.
The Ticket Lawyers are available for all your DUI concerns. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, contact us today to organize a free consultation. Get the information you need to make an informed decision about your court case and how to fight a potential license suspension. If you are being charged with an underage DUI, you need legal representation.
Call The Ticket Lawyers at (855)-323-8488.
States that have laws that outline predetermined minimum penalties for drinking and driving, regardless of past infractions, are known as zero-tolerance states. Zero-tolerance law specifically refers to an extremely low threshold for violating state regulation. These states typically have strict DUI laws for first-offenses.
While Florida does have minimum sentencing requirements for second, third, and fourth DUI’s, the state only enacts zero-tolerance laws for underage drinking and driving. This means that motorists under-21 caught with any alcohol in their system are subject to an automatic license suspension for a minimum period of six months.
Florida zero-tolerance law allows police officers to conduct field sobriety and breath tests on any under-21 driver suspected of consuming alcohol. Impairment does not need to be proven.
Federal law requires all states to have laws against drunk driving. According to Florida Statute 316.193, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .08. Commercial truck drivers and other CDL holders operating a commercial vehicle have a BAC limit of .04.
For those who are under-21, the BAC limit is .02, or the equivalent of a single drink. This is why Florida is known as a zero-tolerance state, as motorists under-21 are not allowed to have any alcohol in their system whatsoever.
A Florida DUI charge is either a misdemeanor or a felony offense. The specific penalties depend on how many DUI convictions an individual has on their record and how recently they were convicted of previous charges.
First and second DUI’s are classed as misdemeanor offenses in most cases. The maximum punishments for misdemeanor DUI offenses as per Florida Statute 316.193 are:
A first or second DUI that results in serious injury or more than $500 in property damage can be upgraded to a felony offense. Florida Statute 316.027 lists serious injury as a condition that presents a significant risk of death, longterm physical suffering, immobility, and extensive or permanent scarring/disfigurement.
Third and fourth DUI’s are classed as felonies. If they occur within ten years of previous DUI convictions, there are mandatory minimum imprisonment sentences.
Other penalties for a DUI in Florida include mandatory substance abuse counseling, community service, and DUI driving courses. There is also a mandatory automatic administrative license suspension of one year if a hardship license is not applied. Jail time is unlikely for first offense convictions. If a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, punishments are the same as if the blood alcohol content of the driver was .15 or above.
Although an underage DUI results in an automatic license suspension for a minimum of six months, there is typically no jail time. Florida’s zero-tolerance law does not have minimum sentencing requirements aside from license suspension.
An underage motorist convicted of a Florida DUI can apply for a hardship license. With one, the individual can drive to and from work during the 6 months that their license is suspended.
If someone has two previous DUI convictions, they cannot apply for a hardship license.
If an individual was under the age of 18 when they were convicted of a DUI, they could apply to have the arrest and conviction expunged. However, motorists over 18 cannot have a conviction expunged, only an arrest. DUI convictions are part of the public record for 75 years. If you were arrested but not convicted, you could apply to have the arrest record erased.
A DUI record can follow you for life. If you are an underage motorist, even a single beer can result in a one-year license suspension and affect your ability to find work.
Contact The Ticket Lawyers today to find out what we can do for you. Our team of attorneys has represented drivers from all over the state and can help fight your underage DUI charges. Free consultations are available before you commit to our criminal defense. Get informed on your options and how much our legal representation might cost you.
Call The Ticket Lawyers at (855)-323-8488
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