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Like every other state in the nation, Florida requires a person to be at least 21 years of age in order to purchase or consume alcohol. Because the Sunshine State prohibits minors from consuming alcohol, the State also imposes what is referred to as a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to minors who are suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.
A person under the age of 21 in Florida can be arrested for drunk driving even when he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) less than the standard legal limit of 0.08. Despite the lower threshold for intoxication, alleged offenders can face many of the same penalties if convicted.
Are you the parent of a minor who has been arrested for an alleged drunk driving offense in north central Florida? You will want to contact Galigani Law Firm as soon as possible who will fight to get a favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties.
Gainesville criminal defense attorney Dean Galigani represents clients facing juvenile charges all over the greater Gainesville area, including communities in Baker County, Bradford County, Union County, and Columbia County.
Call (352) 375-0812 to have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.
Florida Statute § 316.193 states that a person commits the crime of DUI if he or she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle on Florida roadways and is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substance, and is effected to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired, or he or she has a BAC of 0.08.
Under Florida Statute § 322.2616(1)(a), however, it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 who has a BAC of 0.02 or higher to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.
Florida Statute § 322.2616(1)(b) establishes that a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that a motor vehicle was being driven by or was in the actual physical control of a person who is under the age of 21 while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or who has any blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level can lawfully detain the alleged offender and request that he or she submit to a test to determine his or her BAC.
The law enforcement officer or correctional officer is empowered under Florida Statute § 322.2616(2)(a) to suspend the driving privilege of an alleged offender who has a BAC of 0.02 or higher or who refuses to submit to a test.
It is important for any person who has been arrested for an alleged zero tolerance DUI to request a formal review hearing with the Bureau of Administrative Reviews with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).
Under Florida Statute § 322.2616(2)(b), an alleged offender accused of a zero tolerance DUI offense in Florida can have his or her driver's license suspended for the following periods, depending on his or her prior criminal record:
If an alleged offender is convicted of an underage DUI offense, it can carry many of the same penalties that adults face for first-time drunk driving convictions. Possible penalties may include, but are not limited to:
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) | Underage Drinking — MADD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with roughly 600 chapters nationwide. Find underage drinking news, information about why 21 is the minimum legal drinking age, and view underage drinking statistics. You can also read MADD's "Voices of Victims" series, which includes stories from the victims of drunk driving crashes.
Teen Drinking and Driving | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — The CDC is the federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services that is also the nation's leading public health institute. Visit this website to learn more about why underage drinking is a problem and view various study findings. The website also provides links to related pages discussing the science behind underage drinking.
If you or your child was arrested for an alleged zero tolerance DUI offense anywhere in north central Florida, it will be in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Galigani Law Firm represents residents of and visitors to communities in Marion County, Levy County, Gilchrist County, Alachua County, and many surrounding areas of Gainesville.
Dean Galigani is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Gainesville who is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar. He can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (352) 375-0812 or fill out an online contact form to set up a free, confidential consultation.
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"Dean Galigani was supportive when my son was arrested for underage possession of alcohol..." - David