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Underage drinking occurs among college and high school students throughout the United States. However, drivers under 21 years old can face serious consequences in Florida for operating a motor vehicle under the influence.  

Florida enforces a “Zero Tolerance” law that imposes specific and strict penalties for underage intoxicated motorists. While the legal limit for drivers who are at least 21 is a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent, underage drivers may be charged with a DUI by having a BAC level of at least .02 percent, according to this law. 

Although an underage DUI is not considered a criminal charge in Florida and cannot result in a jail sentence, a violation will lead to negatively impact a minor’s or young adult’s ability to drive, as well as other penalties, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. 

For a first offense, an underage driver faces driver’s license suspension for six months. A second or subsequent offense carries a suspension period of one year. 

If an underage driver’s BAC is at least .05 percent, he/she will be required to complete a DUI evaluation and a substance abuse course. In order to reinstate a driver’s license, the driver must show proof of course completion. 

Once an underage driver serves 30 days of the suspension and enrolls in a substance abuse course, he/she is then eligible for a hardship license (along with installing an ignition interlock device) that allows them to drive to and from work during the suspension period. However, underage drivers with at least two prior DUI offenses are ineligible. 

When it comes to Florida’s implied consent law, if an underage driver refuses to submit to a post-arrest chemical test (i.e., breath or blood test), his/her driver’s license will be seized and automatically suspended for one year. A subsequent refusal carries license suspension for 18 months. 

If you or your child has been arrested for a DUI in Miami, contact the Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A. today at (305) 400-0074 for a free consultation. Get a Top 100 Trial Lawyer with 19 years of experience on your side! 

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