How to Address Underage DUI

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense, and the repercussions are even greater for minor drivers. Underage DUI can result in criminal charges, license suspension, and other consequences that can hinder a minor’s life.  


Our attorneys discuss how to tackle underage DUI and provide some advice on the best ways to defend against the charge. We will explain what penalties minors may face and provide tips on how to manage an underage DUI case. 



Underage Drunk Driving Laws  


Florida’s underage DUI laws apply to drivers 21 years of age and below who are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the breathalyzer test shows that the minor has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.02 percent, they may be arrested even without proof of actual impairment. 


All states in the US have zero-tolerance policies, which prohibit drivers under the age of 21 from having even a trace of alcohol in their systems.


Such stringent laws intend to combat the dangers of underage drinking, thus protecting our youth from the serious lasting consequences of a DUI charge.  


Possible Penalties for Underage DUI 


It is important to note—getting arrested for drunk driving as a teen is always a criminal offense.   


In most states, teens under the age of 18 are often charged as an adult, and any conviction will stay on their permanent driving record.  


A DUI charge could impact a minor’s: 


  • College admissions 
  • Participation in team sports or other extracurriculars  
  • Scholarship eligibility 
  • Military recruitment 
  • Future employment


This is why we must underscore the importance of contacting a skilled criminal defense attorney when your child is charged with a DUI. It is unwise to navigate the criminal justice system by yourself. It could mean the difference between your child getting convicted or not. It’s that serious.  


While underage drinking is often a misdemeanor, underage DUI can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the situation.  


Possible penalties for a first-offense underage DUI include: 


  • Driver’s license suspension  
  • Fines  
  • Jail time or time in a juvenile facility 
  • Revocation of license and loss of driving privileges 
  • Mandatory alcohol or substance abuse treatment program  
  • Driver safety course 
  • Community service 
  • Probation 
  • The installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) 


If the minor has prior DUI violations, the sanctions will increase as determined by the specifics of the case.  


The Best Way To Address an Underage DUI is to NOT Get One  


While some teens will always feel invincible and will test their limits, there are ways that parents can help reduce the risk of their teen drivers drinking and driving. These include: 


Talking Early & Often 


You should start talking to your kids about alcohol while they are young and keep doing so as they get older. Many teenagers are not aware of the effects alcohol can have on their bodies and developing brains.


Model Appropriate Behavior  


Parents should set an example by abstaining from drinking at home and using a designated driver if they go out. Alcohol use needs to be frequently discussed in your household.


Develop a Plan  


Have a “no questions asked” policy for rides home so that your teen knows they are in a safe environment. By doing this, you can lessen the number of drunk driving incidents and improve your relationship.


Dealing with Underage DUI 


As a parent, it is natural to want to help your child through challenging and frustrating situations. But what do you do when your teenager is arrested due to underage drinking and driving?  


Being proactive is key. The following tips will help lessen the negative impacts of an underage DUI charge.  


#1. Handle Your Emotions  


Of course, it is natural to feel furious if you find out that your child was arrested for DUI. But while it is necessary to express how you feel about the incident, you also need to remain calm to properly address the issue at hand.  


Even if your teen is probably already upset about being handcuffed and taken to the police station, express your feelings to them in a way that doesn’t cause further emotional injury.


You will want to help them make better choices in the future and keep the lines of communication open, not stir up feelings of resentment or alienation.   


#2. Talk it Out  


Talk to your child calmly and speak to them from a place of love. A DUI conviction will have serious consequences, so make sure they are aware that drinking is not a healthy method to deal with stress or difficulties.


Above all, let them know that you are on their side no matter what.  


#3. Work with an Experienced DUI Lawyer 


One of the best things you can do for your teen is to contact a reputable DUI attorney to handle their case. The ultimate goal is to keep their record clean of DUI-related offenses.  


One mistake doesn’t have to ruin your teen’s future.  


At the very least, a knowledgeable attorney can minimize the charges against your child so that a DUI conviction won’t appear on background checks and negatively impact their future.


Read More > Underage DUI in Florida 


Underage DUI Defense  


Underage DUI convictions carry serious penalties and lasting consequences. If your teen was charged with drinking and driving in Tampa, you must contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible.  


At Stechschulte Nell Law we understand the negative implications that an underage DUI could have on your child’s life. We are ready to build a comprehensive defense that advocates for their best interests.  


We are on your side and are ready to defend your child’s DUI case. Call us at 813-280-1244 for a free DUI case review today.  

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