According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people between the ages 12 and 20 consume 11 percent of all alcohol in the United States. Only slightly less than half of all high school students drink alcohol or have consumed alcohol at some point and over 22 percent of high school students binge drink. Due to these staggering statistics, law enforcement may be over-zealous about making these types of arrests.
While underage drinking arrests can take place in any context, it is not uncommon for these to be the result of a DUI arrest. In Florida, there is a zero tolerance law in effect for drivers under the age of 21. If law enforcement test the subject and find that there is any trace amount of alcohol on their breath or in their system, then they will likely make a DUI arrest. Compare this to the typical .08 percent BAC DUI standard for those at or above the legal drinking age of 21.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is required to suspend or revoke a violator's driver's license or driving privileges upon an underage DUI arrest per Florida Statute § 322.056. An underage DUI arrest, if convicted, could seriously harm a person's driving record and criminal record. If you or your son or daughter was arrested for under-21 DUI then you have ten days in which you can request a DHSMV hearing to contest a license suspension.
In Florida, it is illegal to sell or otherwise give alcohol to those under the drinking age of 21. It is also illegal for an underage individual or another individual to purposefully conceal the age of a person so that they can obtain alcohol. It is also illegal for anyone to possess an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. This means that if an individual under the age of 21 was not drinking, but still possessed an open container in their vehicle, they could be arrested. It is even illegal, per section 2B, to be seated in a vehicle even while it is stopped.
At Taracks & Associates, we have a pattern of success in helping our under- 21 clients receive the legal representation that they need. Speak with a Tampa criminal defense attorney at our firm to learn more about the proven strategies that our firm uses to get our clients' charges reduced or dismissed outright. There is hope if you've been arrested for an underage drinking, possession or drunk driving offense.