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Under Age 21 or Juvenile DUI

Becoming an adult requires taking chances. But when young people are caught consuming drugs or alcohol and then driving, the consequences can be serious. Because of their inexperience with alcohol, young people are more likely to binge drink with tragic results. 

Compared with adults, young drivers are overrepresented in all fatal crashes as well as crashes involving alcohol. In response to these tragic cases, the state of Florida has adopted “zero tolerance” policies for juveniles or young people under the age of 21 who are accused of drunk or drugged driving.

After a traffic stop, a young person must worry about:

  • an administrative suspension of their driver’s license under Florida’s zero-tolerance policy (which does NOT result in an arrest for DUI); or
  • an arrest for DUI because the officer has probable cause that the driver is actually under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Act quickly to contest that administrative suspension within 10 days by hiring an attorney who can demand a formal review hearing. If the young person was also arrested for DUI, then an attorney can fight the case in court.

Click here to read more about our Recent Case Results in DUI Cases.

Attorney for an Under Age 21 DUI in Tampa, FL

Contact the experienced Tampa DUI Attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss any DUI case involving a juvenile or driver under the age of 21 in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL. Our attorneys are available to speak with you about your case 24/7.

We can help you fight the administrative suspension of your driver’s license so that your insurance rates do not skyrocket. We can also help you deal with any criminal charge for DUI.

Call 813-250-0500 today.

“Zero tolerance” – The .02 Legal Limit

Under Florida law, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to even consume an alcoholic beverage. Of course, it is also illegal for a person under 21 years old to drink and drive. For purposes of an administrative suspension, the legal limit for an adult is a BAC level of .08 and the legal limit for a person under 21 years old is a BAC level of .02.

The term BAC refers to the blood or breath alcohol concentration. Commonly referred to a “zero-tolerance” policy for driving under the influence of alcohol while under 21 years old, such an accusation can result in a driver’s license suspension.

Other than the serious direct consequences of a DUI, the juvenile or driver under 21 may also suffer indirect consequences that can drastically increased insurance premiums and a criminal record that will affect a young person’s educational and employment opportunities. 

Administrative Suspension for a DUI Driver Under the Age of 21

Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 322.2616, a law enforcement officer may request any person under the age of 21 to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath or urine if the officer has probable cause to believe that the driver is impaired or has a blood alcohol content of a .02.

If the driver is accused of refusing the chemical test or if the breath test reading shows a result of .02 or above, and administrative suspension will occur. The only way to avoid the “immediate” suspension is to demand an administrative hearing with the DMV within 10 days of the arrest.

Unless the young person wins the administrative hearing the suspension period for an individual under the age of 21 with an alcohol level of .02 is as follows:

  • First Suspension: Six (6) months; or
  • Second or subsequent suspension: Twelve (12) months.

The administrative suspension period for an individual under the age of 21 who refuses to submit to a chemical test is as follows:

  • First Suspension: Twelve (12) months;
  • Second or Subsequent Suspension: Eighteen (18) months.

For a DUI case involving a driver under the age of 21, if the blood or breath alcohol content level is a .05 or above the driver’s license suspension will stay in place until the driver successfully completes a substance abuse evaluation and treatment course. The arresting officer will issue the person under 21 a temporary driving permit (assuming he is otherwise eligible) which is valid for only 10 days after the arrest.

During those ten (10) days, the juvenile or driver under 21 should hire an attorney to demand a formal review hearing to attack the administrative suspension of the driver’s license. The attorney can also help the young person obtain a 42-day permit while the suspension is being contested.

At the hearing, the Tampa DUI Juvenile Attorney can subpoena and cross-examine witnesses and explore possible defenses that can be used to fight the charges in the criminal case.

Contact an experienced Juvenile Defense Attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss ways to protect yourself against this serious accusation today. Call 813-250-0500 to speak with one of our experienced and aggressive DUI defense lawyers.

Minors Charged with DUI Crimes

A minor child can be charged with DUI when the child’s BAC was over .08 or the child’s normal faculties were impaired. The judges in county court have jurisdiction for misdemeanor DUI charges. § 316.635; N.J.G. v. State, 987 So.2d 101 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008). Under § 318.143, the court must impose additional penalties that court may impose for minors who violate Chapter 316.

After the first DUI conviction, the court may revoke the driver’s license until the minor child is 18 years of age. § 318.143(4), Fla. Stat. In addition to the standard sentencing sanctions, the court may impose other special conditions of probation for a minor children convicted of DUI including:

  • Curfew;
  • Community work project
  • Creative Sentencing Options:
  • Photographs of roadside memorials;
  • Essays;
  • Book reports;
  • Newspaper clippings;
  • School progress reports;
  • G.E.D; and
  • Youthful Drunk Driver Visitation Program

Additional Resources

Sentencing and Disposition of Youth DUI and other Alcohol Offenses: A Guide for Judges and Prosecutors – Find a historical perspective on how DUI by young people has been treated over time since February of 2000. This manual was intended to help judges and prosecutors to more effectively sanction juveniles and youths for alcohol-related offenses and to prevent underage drinking. The guide was published by NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) and NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).

This article was last updated on Friday, August 16, 2019.