DUI charges are serious enough for adults, but the Florida legislature has enacted a zero-tolerance, strict liability standard when it comes to underage drinking and driving. The main reason for this is that alcohol-related traffic crashes are a leading cause of teenage death.

If your son or daughter is under the age of 21 and has been charged with DUI, it is important to take steps now to protect them. We’re parents ourselves, so we understand the pressures local teens face and that young people don’t always think about the long-term consequences of their actions. We also completely understand how angry you might be at your son or daughter for the decisions they made.

Our philosophy in juvenile cases is very simple: we want our juvenile clients to learn a lesson from what they did, but we do not believe that a mistake someone makes as a juvenile should affect the rest of their life. The Fort Walton Beach juvenile DUI attorneys at Flaherty & Merrifield know exactly how to strike that balance.

Will my child’s case be heard in Juvenile Court or Adult Court?

If they are younger than 18, they will be required to appear in Juvenile Court. If they are 18 or older, they will be required to appear in Adult Court and will face adult sanctions.

A Blood Alcohol Content of 0.02 is the Legal Limit for Drivers under 21

As most people know, the legal limit for drinking and driving in the State of Florida is a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08. For drivers under the age of 21, the legal limit is a BAC of 0.02.

What are the penalties for an Under 21 DUI?

  • Driver Under 21 with BAC of 0.02 and up: if this is your son or daughter’s first DUI offense, their driver’s license may be suspended for 6 months. For a second offense, the suspension will be for a year.
  • Driver Under 21 with breath test refusal: for a first refusal, the driver’s license suspension is 12 months. For a second or subsequent refusal, the period of suspension is 18 months.
  • If your son or daughter had a BAC of 0.08 or above, they will face the exact same sanctions that an adult would face for a DUI, including possible jail time.

Contact an Okaloosa County Juvenile Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one have been charged with a juvenile offense in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 403-6835 for a free consultation.

Brandy Merrifield
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney