Juvenile or Underage DUI
The minimum age to consume alcohol in Florida is 21, according to Juvenile or Underage DUI laws. If you are under 21 and drive with even the slightest amount of alcohol in your system, you should know the consequences of that choice.
First, understand that all the adult DUI laws apply to you as well. While there is a separate juvenile court system to handle criminal cases involving minors accused of committing Felony and Misdemeanor criminal offenses, that system does not handle any criminal traffic charges. Your DUI case will be handled in the same system and the same way as any adult’s would. That means if you are convicted of a DUI, you could be adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense and sentenced to jail before you turn 18 years of age.
Second, Florida has what is commonly referred to as a “zero-tolerance” law on underage drinking and driving, which is Florida Statutes Section 322.2616. This law imposes additional administrative penalties on underage drivers who drink.
If an officer has probable cause to believe you are operating or are in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, he is authorized to request you submit to a chemical test to determine if your BAC Level is 0.02 or higher. Understand that this represents, in the average size teenager, a quantity of alcohol that is less than the contents of one beer, one glass of wine, or a shot of any bourbon, whisky, rum, vodka, gin, or other alcoholic beverage. If lawfully requested and properly advised, and you refuse the test, the penalty is a 12 month suspension of your driver’s license for a first time refusal. For a second refusal, it is 18 months.
If you submit to the tests you face the following administrative action:
- Blow from 0.02 to under 0.05, you will receive the same suspension as if an adult blew over a 0.08—6 months suspension for a first offense, 12 months for a second or subsequent offense.
- Blow over a 0.05, and the same suspensions apply, but you will also have to complete a department approved substance abuse education course before your license can be reinstated. That course will include a substance abuse evaluation. If you are under 19 years of age, your parents will be notified of the results of that evaluation.
- Blow over a 0.08, and you’re looking at all of this and an adult criminal DUI charge as well.
You have rights to administrative review of these suspensions similar to those of an adult charged with a DUI. We can help you determine if those options should be pursued in your case.
Third, understand that driving under 21 with any alcohol in your system means you are guilty of at least 2 crimes since it is illegal for you to consume alcohol at your age. As such, you may find yourself or someone you may care about facing a variety of other criminal charges such as, but not limited to.
Violations of Florida Statutes Section 562.11:
- Selling, giving, or serving alcoholic beverages to person under age 21 (an older friend or relative may have given you the alcohol, or, you may have provided alcohol to other minors in the vehicle with you)
- Misrepresentation of your or another person’s age to induce someone to sell you or another alcohol (anyone lying to a store clerk or bartender about their or another person’s age to buy alcohol)
Violations of Florida Statutes Section 562.111:
- Possession of Alcohol my a Minor (where you found in the vehicle to have closed, open or empty alcoholic beverages on you, with you or within reach of you?)
Violations of Florida Statutes Section 322.212:
- Use or possession of a blank, forged, stolen, fictitious, counterfeit, or unlawfully issued driver license or identification card or any instrument in the similitude of a driver license or identification card (Using a fake ID or even having it in your possession)
- Lying on your license or ID application about your age (trying to get an ID that shows you to be old enough to obtain alcohol)
- This list includes both Felony and Misdemeanor offenses, and many of them expose others to the risk of criminal prosecution because of your conduct. If you or a relative or friend are charged with any of these offenses, you should seek representation as soon as possible. Call us today.