Underage DUI and zero tolerance in Florida
The state of Florida is very serious about prosecuting those driving under the influence while still under the legal age to possess alcohol. The state legislature has set strict standards for courts to follow, and those standards can include impairment from other substances other than alcohol. Those who are arrested for driving under the influence of controlled or banned substances other than alcohol could also receive drug charges when contraband is found by police officers.
Teens under age 18
Florida state law allows for those under age 18 to be prosecuted as a juvenile when charged for DUI. These defendants are typically released into their parents’ custody as opposed to being required to post bond on their own accord in the same manner as an adult. This can also impact any subsequent penalties that include fines and community service as a result. Incarceration is usually reserved for those involved in accidents while under the influence. Extended driving privilege suspension is also standard punishment.
Teens over age 18
There is also a group of teen drivers in Florida between ages 18 and 21. Florida actually uses a graduated driver’s license system that does not allow full driving privileges until reaching age 18. While drivers over age 18 will be prosecuted as adults, they are also still not allowed to possess alcohol until age 21. Just as with those under 18, the zero-tolerance policy could result in additional charges for possession of alcohol beyond impaired driving under certain conditions.
Teens over age 18 who are charged with DUI are required to bond out of jail on their own record outside of parental oversight, but they are also subject to adult adjudication. This means they can also be sentenced to a jail term, but often do not receive an extended driving privilege suspension that can result for those with provisional licenses.