A popular misconception is that if someone who is underage is caught driving while intoxicated, they will not have to face the same consequences as an adult. In actuality, age has no effect on a DUI charge. Even if a person is under the age of 18, they would be charged as an adult for a DUI offense.
There are no juvenile traffic laws in Florida. If the person violates the motor vehicle laws while driving in the State of Florida, they are treated the same as an adult. Youths make mistakes, but sometimes these mistakes can have serious consequences. That is why, if you or a loved one has been charged with an underage DUI offense, you should consider contacting a West Palm Beach DUI lawyer. A qualified DUI attorney could work tirelessly to build a solid defense.
Laws Regarding Underage DUIs
In Florida, the lawful age to consume alcohol is 21. Florida has a zero tolerance law, which means if a person is under 21, they are not supposed to have any alcohol in the system whatsoever because they are not lawfully allowed to consume or possess it. If someone is under the age of 21, the legal limit of 0.08 does apply for a DUI. However, if a person is pulled over, has alcohol on their breath, and takes a breath test which shows the person has a 0.02 or above, they could suspend the person’s license. The underage driver would not get a DUI unless the blood alcohol level was above a .08 in most instances.
It does not mean the person is going to get a DUI because the 0.08 limit still applies to the person. If the person has any alcohol on them and is under 21, they are going to have a legal issue unless the person had a sip or a drop. If the person is under the age of 21, is pulled over for suspicion of DUI, and blows over the legal limit, refuses, or is acting impaired or under the influence of controlled substances, the person is still going to be charged with a DUI.
Whether a person is under 21 or under, they are responsible for the same laws as an adult is. A 16-year-old can get a speeding ticket. A 16-year-old can get a red light ticket. A 16-year-old can get a reckless driving ticket. A 16-year-old can get a DUI and be treated exactly the same as an adult because the same laws apply whether someone is under 21 or above. A West Palm Beach underage DUI lawyer could defend an underage individual against these charges.
Expectations of the Underage DUI Court Process
Individuals who have been charged with an underage DUI offense should expect to be treated like an adult because their case is going to be in regular court. The fact that they are under 21 does not matter. Assuming it is a first DUI, the cases for underage drivers are handled exactly the same as it relates to a standard DUI. Whether the person is 16, 60 or 160 years old, it is a DUI and the person is going to be treated the same.
What matters in Palm Beach County courts are how many DUIs the person has, if it is the first one or not, if an accident is involved, how high the breath test was, and if the person has any other criminal record. Age would typically not be a factor in the prosecution or process of a DUI case. The cases are handled the same. Underage DUI cases under 18 are heard in adult court. There is no juvenile court for underage drivers charged with DUIs or any traffic laws. They are all heard in adult court in West Palm Beach.
Importance of Family in an Underage DUI Case
The family is the one that is going to be helping the underage driver. The underage driver typically cannot afford an attorney. Family members can step in and help the young person retain the services of West Palm Beach underage DUI lawyer who is experienced in dealing with both the underage driver and the supporting family members.
It is also important for parents to realize that an underage DUI offense is not a reflection on the parents. Children do things, whether young adult children or underage children and like adults might make the wrong decision. It is important to have an attorney that understands all that, understands the actions of the young adults or underage driver, understands the implications that it is going to have on the young adult or underage driver, understands the dynamics in the family and how it is affecting the family relationship, and understand how it is affecting the adults in the family, who are paying the price. They are taking responsibility and assisting the underage driver. It helps to have someone that has experience with all that and also empathizes with it all.
Value of Working With a West Palm Beach DUI Attorney
It is important to work with an experienced West Palm Beach underage DUI lawyer because they may have insight into how to work with young people, and how to work with the local courts. Working with an attorney that regularly deals with, understands, and can relate to youths is vital to establishing a healthy lawyer-potential client relationship. If you or a loved one have been charged with an underage DUI, speak with a skilled West Palm Beach underage DUI attorney that can advocate for you.