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Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for Under 21 DUI Charges in Tampa, FL

Florida has a zero-tolerance policy for both underage drinking and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As such, any individual who is both under the age of 21 and is found to be operating a motor vehicle while under the influence may face serious and long-lasting consequences. Tampa underage DUI lawyer Andrew Buda recognizes the profound impact that underage DUI charges can have on a young person’s future. Not only can underage drunk driving appear on their criminal record, but it can also affect future employment, education opportunities, and more.

At Buda Law, our team of Tampa DUI defense attorneys is dedicated to providing aggressive and compassionate legal representation for individuals charged with an underage DUI. When you hire a Tampa DUI attorney from Buda Law, you increase your chances of receiving a more favorable outcome for your underage drinking charges than if you were facing the legal system alone. Call Buda Law at (813) 322-2832 to schedule a free consultation with Tampa DUI attorney Andrew Buda today.

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Facing charges for an under 21 DUI in Tampa? Contact us today for a FREE consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

Drinking Age in Florida

Florida law sets the legal drinking age at 21 years old, which is in alignment with the national minimum drinking age, mandating that individuals must be at least 21 years of age to purchase or publicly possess alcoholic beverages.

The reason behind this legal drinking age is to deter alcohol consumption among minors and decrease the occurrence of alcohol-related accidents, health issues, and legal infractions among young people. Florida enforces this law strictly, employing various measures to prevent underage drinking and penalizing violations with fines, community service, and potential impacts on driving privileges. 

Tampa Underage DUI Lawyer

What is the Legal BAC Limit for Driving in Florida?

In Florida, the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for driving is established at 0.08% for drivers aged 21 and over. This legal limit is consistent with the national standard across the United States, serving as the benchmark at which a driver is legally recognized as being under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.

Legal BAC Limit Under 21

Drivers under the age of 21 are subject to Florida’s zero-tolerance policy regarding driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. This policy is markedly stricter than that for older drivers, setting the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit at 0.02% for those under 21.

DUI Under 21 Consequences

An underage DUI arrest in Florida carries significant legal repercussions. This includes:

  • License Suspension: A young driver found over the legal limit of alcohol in their system (0.02%) can have their driver’s license taken away by a law enforcement officer at the time of arrest. The length of the suspension period depends on the facts surrounding the case.
  • Fines and Fees: While specific fines may not be as high for drivers under 21 as for those over 21, underage drivers can still face significant financial penalties associated with court costs, legal fees, and the cost of any required educational programs.
  • Educational Programs: Mandatory enrollment in an alcohol education or substance abuse evaluation and treatment program may be required.
  • Community Service: Courts may order community service for underage DUI offenses.
  • Criminal Record: Depending on the circumstances, the underage driver could be charged with a misdemeanor, affecting future employment opportunities, educational prospects, and more.

It’s important to note that these penalties can be more severe if:

  • The underage driver caused property damage, personal injury, or death;
  • They had a very high BAC; or
  • It’s not their first DUI offense.

Florida takes underage DUI offenses very seriously, which is why it’s crucial to contact an experienced Tampa criminal defense lawyer like Andrew Buda if you or your child is facing these charges.

Tampa Underage DUI Attorney

How Long Will Your License Be Suspended for a DUI Under 21?

In Florida, an underage DUI conviction can result in harsh penalties, including driver’s license suspension. For a first underage DUI offense where the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is between 0.02% and 0.05%, the license suspension period is typically six months. However, if the BAC is 0.05% or higher or a subsequent offense, the suspension period can extend to at least one year.

Additionally, individuals arrested for an underage DUI with a BAC of 0.08% or higher are subject to the same Florida DUI penalties as those over 21, which could lead to an even longer suspension period, among other penalties.

Can You Go To Jail for Underage Drinking and Driving?

In Florida, the risk of jail time is a real consequence for underage drivers convicted of drinking and driving. While the state’s primary goal is to deter such behavior through education and prevention, those found violating DUI laws may indeed face incarceration, especially if their actions resulted in property damage, injury, or were part of a repeated pattern of offenses.

The Florida judicial system has discretion in underage DUI cases, often considering the specifics of the incident, the driver’s history, and the presence of any aggravating factors. This potential for jail time serves as a stern reminder of the zero-tolerance policy Florida takes against underage drinking and driving.

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What Happens if You Get a DUI at 17 or Younger?

If a person is arrested for an underage DUI in Florida at the age of 17 or younger, they are processed through the juvenile justice system. While this system focuses more on rehabilitation than punishment, the consequences remain severe. They can include a six-month driver’s license suspension, mandatory enrollment in alcohol education or intervention programs, community service, and potential detention in a juvenile facility. If you or your child received an underage DUI, a Tampa juvenile defense attorney at Buda Law is here to help.

Long-Term Consequences of an Underage DUI Conviction

An underage DUI conviction in Florida can have profound and lasting effects on a young individual’s life, extending far beyond the immediate legal penalties.

These long-term consequences can include a permanent mark on one’s criminal record, possibly hindering educational and employment opportunities. Many universities and employers conduct background checks, and a DUI conviction can be a major deterrent. Insurance rates can also skyrocket, making it financially difficult to maintain a vehicle.

Why You Need an Experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney

When facing underage DUI charges in Tampa, the guidance of experienced DUI lawyers is indispensable. A Tampa DUI juvenile attorney understands the Florida DUI laws pertaining to underage offenders and can help young people navigate the challenges of the legal system.

With in-depth knowledge of the challenges and penalties associated with underage DUI offenses, a Tampa DUI defense attorney can offer tailored advice, emotional support, and dedicated representation.

Overall, an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney is pivotal in alleviating the immediate and long-term consequences of underage DUI offenses, striving to secure the most favorable outcome for your future.

Tampa DUI Lawyer

What To Expect Following a DUI Arrest

Following an underage DUI arrest in Tampa, the legal process unfolds through several critical stages, starting with the arrest itself, where the arresting officer formally charges you with a DUI.

The next step is the arraignment, a court appearance where you’ll hear the drunk driving charges against you and enter a plea. Pre-trial motions may follow, during which your Tampa underage DUI lawyer can challenge evidence or argue legal points that could significantly impact the outcome of your case. If the case proceeds, the trial is where the prosecution and defense present their arguments and evidence to either a judge or jury. Finally, sentencing is determined if a conviction is secured, outlining the penalties to be imposed.

At each stage, an experienced Tampa criminal defense lawyer like Andrew Buda can help navigate the legal system, advocate on your behalf, and work toward minimizing the consequences of the underage DUI charge. This comprehensive approach is vital in defending underage DUI charges in Tampa, aiming for outcomes that protect your future and legal rights. 

Why Choose Buda Law?

Choosing Buda Law for your defense in an underage DUI case in Tampa means entrusting your case to a law firm with a proven track record of vigorously defending its clients’ rights and securing favorable outcomes.

At Buda Law, clients receive personalized attention and a tailored defense strategy that considers the unique aspects of their case. Tampa underage DUI lawyer Andrew Buda is well-versed in Florida law regarding underage DUI and skilled at navigating the legal system to advocate for his clients.

As a former prosecuting attorney, Andrew Buda uses this experience to help those charged with an underage DUI. This knowledge sets him apart from other DUI lawyers in Tampa, making him the best ally for clients facing an underage DUI conviction. 

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Don’t Wait – Call Tampa Underage DUI Defense Attorney Andrew Buda For a Free Consultation Today

Having an experienced lawyer like Andrew Buda on your side can be a crucial advantage when facing a DUI charge in Florida. With his extensive background in defending a wide array of DUI cases, Andrew Buda brings a deep understanding of Florida’s DUI laws and the complexities involved in such cases.

In the stressful aftermath of an underage DUI arrest, having Andrew Buda’s knowledgeable and strategic legal defense can significantly impact the outcome of your case and help protect your rights, minimize consequences, and support you through the recovery of your reputation and driving privileges.

Call Buda Law at (813) 322-2832 or reach out online to set up a free consultation with Tampa DUI defense attorney Andrew Buda today!


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