Florida's underage DUI law is not a criminal charge. If someone who is under the age of 21 is stopped for any reason, the police can decide to test them with a non-evidentiary breath test estimator, which is a hand-held breath testing machine. If the individual has a breath alcohol concentration of more than 0.02, then the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will take the administrative action of a six-month driver's license suspension and a 30-day hard suspension. If the individual refuses to take the breath test, then there will be a one-year driver's license suspension with a 90-day hard suspension.
Is It Possible For Someone Who Is Under The Age Of 21 To Have Their DUI Charge Reduced To A Lesser Offense In Florida?
Since there is no separate DUI crime that applies to people who are under the age of 21, it is absolutely possible for a person who is under the age of 21 to have their DUI charge reduced to a lesser offense. Namely, this could be done through a diversion program such as DETER in Sarasota County, or Back on Track in Monroe County. If successfully completed, the diversion program will allow for the DUI charge to be reduced to a reckless driving charge, and for the individual to avoid a court suspension of their driver's license, which is a big deal for most people. If the individual blew over 0.08 or refused to blow, then they would probably still receive an administrative suspension.
Successful completion of a diversion program would also allow for the person to have their record sealed at a later time, which means no one would see that they had a youthful DUI conviction or even an arrest. Avoiding a DUI conviction also means avoiding mandatory FR-44 high-risk car insurance, which is expensive and requires six months' worth of payments in advance, an amount that can cost thousands of dollars upfront.
For all of these reasons, completing a diversion program is almost always recommended. Any person who is facing a DUI charge should obtain a good lawyer who will be able to argue for their admittance to a diversion program. If someone doesn't appear to be eligible for diversion at first glance, the state attorney's office could be persuaded to let them participate in one anyway.
For more information on Zero Tolerance Underage DUI Law In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (941) 219-5553 today.