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Zero Tolerance DUI

Laws regarding drunk driving already are very strict. However, if a person is younger than 21, the laws can be much stricter. Florida has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking. If a person younger than 21 is found to be in control of a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .02 or more, he or she could face charges for drunk driving.

Fort Lauderdale Zero Tolerance DUI Lawyer

If you are a young person facing charges of driving under the influence in Broward County, contact a skilled defense attorney to represent you immediately. There are severe consequences to a conviction for drunk driving, and the restrictions are tighter if you are younger than 21. A skilled Fort Lauderdale zero tolerance DUI lawyer from Meltzer & Bell will represent you, both in criminal proceedings and in any hearings regarding license suspension.

Contact Meltzer & Bell at (954) 765-6585 for a free consultation to speak to an experienced partner 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Meltzer & Bell represents clients throughout Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Weston, Deerfield Beach, Sunrise, Davie, Plantation and Wilton Manors.

Information about Underage Drunk Driving Charges

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Stricter Laws for People Under 21 in Florida

It is illegal for any person, under state law, to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to point where normal faculties are impaired. If a person older than 21 has a blood-alcohol content of .08, however, he or she is considered “per se” impaired, meaning he or she is intoxicated for purposes of the law no matter whether or not his or her faculties are impaired.

For people younger than 21, the legal age for alcohol consumption, that level of “per se” intoxication is lower. Under Florida Statutes Annotated § 322.2616, if prosecutors can prove that an underage person was driving or in actual physical control of  a vehicle with a BAC of .02 or more, he or she may be convicted of a DUI.

While the effects of drinking vary widely according to weight, height, body composition and a variety of other factors, the vast majority of people will often register a .02 BAC after just one drink or less. Hence, the policy is referred to as “zero tolerance.”

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License Suspension for Underage Drivers

While the BAC for per se intoxications may be different for drivers under 21, the penalties are the same. For a first offense, a person may be sentenced to:

  • Up to six months in jail, or probation
  • Up to a $1,000 fine
  • Community service
  • Mandatory drug and/or alcohol counseling
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • License suspension

If accused of drinking and driving while under 21, consequences can begin long before a conviction and even if prosecutors are unable to secure a guilty verdict. If a person is suspected of drunk driving, he or she will usually be asked to take a BAC test. He or she has a constitutional right to refuse that test.

However, if a person younger than 21 refuses the test, his or her license will be suspended for a year for a first offense and 18 months for a subsequent suspension. If a person takes the test and fails, however, his or her license will be suspected for six months for a first offense and a year for a subsequent suspension.

However, you may contest a suspension, and an attorney can help. Your Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer can challenge the stop, the test or other factors during a formal hearing. You have only 10 days after the arrest to request such a hearing, so it is critical you act now.

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Finding the Best Underage DUI Defense Attorney in Broward County

If you are younger than 21 and face charges for drunk driving, it is important that you act now to preserve your future. Your best decision is to hire an experienced Fort Lauderdale zero tolerance DUI lawyer. Call Meltzer & Bell today at (954) 765-6585 for a free consultation. You will also be represented by one of our partners, and never an associate fresh out of law school. Call today to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney in Broward County.

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