D. Scott Rieth Criminal Defense Attorney
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Can the police give a license suspension for underage DUI?

Florida is serious about stopping drivers from operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol and will make traffic stops, have checkpoints and use other tactics to catch these drivers. In the summer, when there are more young people out and about, it is likely that some will consume alcohol and decide to drive. Drinking while underage is against the law. Underage drunk driving can lead to serious problems if there is a conviction. In fact, law enforcement has the right to immediately suspend the driver license of a driver who is under 21 and is found to have consumed alcohol. When this happens, drivers should make sure they have a strong legal defense to try and get the driver license back.

When a person under 21 drives and is stopped by law enforcement, the blood-alcohol concentration will be measured and if it is 0.02 or higher, the officer can suspend the driver license. This is done on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles. When seeking to determine the driver's BAC, a breath test will be requested. Drivers in Florida are bound by implied consent and must submit to the test if they are asked to do so by a law enforcement officer.

Breath test refusal is also a legal violation and there are penalties for a person under 21 to refuse. When the driver refuses to submit to the test, the officer can suspend the driving privileges. The driver license will be taken away and a 10-day temporary permit will be given if the person is otherwise allowed to drive. A notice of suspension will be given. The driver who refused will have a suspension of one year for a first refusal. For a second refusal, it will be fore 18 months if there was a previous suspension due to refusal.

For a suspension for underage DUI, the driver must have been under 21 and was in physical control of the vehicle with the BAC of 0.02 or higher. If the driver submitted to the test and the results came up as 0.02 or higher, there will be a six-month suspension for a first violation and a one year suspension if there was a previous suspension for DUI. Just as people over 21 have the right to lodge a defense against DUI and traffic offenses, so do those under 21. A law firm that that understands how to assist people who are alleged to have committed underage DUI can help to craft that defense.

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D. Scott Rieth
9040 Town Center Parkway, Suite 103A
Bradenton, FL 34202

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