Florida Law Takes a Hard Line on Underage Drinking and Driving
First of all, the “zero tolerance” statute allows drivers under age 21 to have their license suspended for having any alcohol in their system when pulled over by law enforcement. Secondly, the license suspension penalties are much stiffer for underage drivers charged with a full-fledged DUI.
If you are under the legal drinking age, or if your underage son or daughter is accused of driving under the influence, the Fort Myers law firm of Steven Wetter, Attorney at Law can help you seek juvenile justice. We have enabled many college students and teenagers avoid the worst penalties of a underage DUI arrest, and limit the consequences toward their driving privileges, education and future.
DUI defense lawyer Steven H. Wetter represents youths and young adults that become caught up in Florida’s juvenile justice system for a DUI under 21. We serve Lee County, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Charlotte County and surrounding communities, including students of Florida Gulf Coast University and Edison State College.
Contact us as soon as possible for a free initial consultation. You must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your dui under 21 arrest to fight license suspension.
Potential Penalties for Under 21 Drinking and Driving
- Underage drivers can be cited under the zero tolerance law at a BAC of .02 — essentially one alcoholic drink. This is an administrative offense that results in automatic license suspension for six months. A second offense before age 21, or a refusal of the breath test on a first offense, will result in loss of license for 12 months.
- If the under-21 driver has a BAC of .08 or greater, that person can be charged with the criminal offense of driving under the influence (DUI). Not only do all the adult penalties apply, but the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend the license until age 21.
The decision to write drivers up for a zero tolerance violation or arrest them for a full DUI charge is up to the police officer. Most underage drivers who are over .08 will face the criminal charges, especially for aggravating factors such as high BAC, other minors in the car, reckless driving or causing an accident.
Experienced Zero Tolerance and DUI Defense
Steve Wetter has 16 years of experience with drunk driving cases, as a former prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney. He knows that police can easily take advantage of youthful drivers who are not aware of their rights and scared out of their minds about the consequences. He provides skilled representation for license suspension hearings and any criminal proceedings, with a solid record of dismissals and reduced charges.
He also explores alternative programs for first-time offenders to keep the DUI conviction off their record. If the DMV does suspend the youth’s license, he can help obtain a hardship license for limited driving privileges to drive to school or a job. (No hardship license is available for a second offense or refusal.)
Call 239-476-9531 or contact us online to talk with an experienced Fort Myers underage DUI attorney. We offer a free, confidential consultation and our phones are answered 24 hours a day.