Receiving a phone call that your child has been arrested is a gut-wrenching moment for any parent. It’s important to remember that your child is likely just as worried, afraid, and stressed, if not more. Underage DUI refers to motorists under the age of 21 arrested for use of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your child is arrested, it can lead to license suspension and/or other civil criminal punishments. The potential other punishments will likely depend on the circumstances of the arrest. For Example: Was there an accident? Was someone injured? Was the driver parked or in-route?
If your child is arrested for DUI, here’s what you need to know in Florida:
The zero-tolerance law in Florida.
The zero-tolerance law pertains to drivers under the age of 21. The purpose of this law is to discourage underage drinking. This law states that if a person under the age of 21 is found to have a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher, their Florida driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 6 months.
If you receive a call that your child has been arrested for any charge including a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) remind them to be respectful and cooperative. It’s also important to remind them to not say a word until an attorney arrives. Remind your child that if something wrong is said, it may affect the bond hearing or criminal trial.
Enlist the help of an attorney specialized in juvenile defense.
Contact an experienced attorney with experience in DUI arrests; they will help you understand the legal process and make the case go as smoothly as possible.
With Florida’s zero-tolerance law, it’s important that anyone underage arrested for DUI speak with an attorney. Some methods a lawyer may use to help reduce DUI charges or have them thrown out entirely include looking at the process of detection the officer used and if they had probable cause for the traffic stop and initiation of the field sobriety test.
Tell them to remain calm.
If you’re fortunate enough to speak with your child before they are processed, and may still be at the scene of the arrest, remind them to remain calm. This includes staying quiet and relaxed in front of the officer. Avoid giving unnecessary details until you have hired an attorney. Although your child may feel the urge to flee due to being intoxicated, they must stay on the scene and face the consequences. You as the parent must remind your child to remain calm, cooperative, and remain silent. You as a parent should also remain calm and level headed. Remember to advocate for your child and support them, because as much of a difficult time this is for you processing the arrest, your underage child is also very likely going through something bigger.
Your child may qualify for a hardship license.
Every case is different, but your attorney can review if your child qualifies for a DUI hardship license. This will help in the case of a suspended license. It allows the person to continue driving to/from work as long as you have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle. While it’s unlikely that many underage drivers may qualify for a DUI hardship license, it’s definitely something to be aware of as each family situation is different.
If your child or another loved one is arrested for Underage DUI, be aware of the facts. To bond out of jail right now call our Orlando bail bonds office at 407-841-3646. All discussions are kept strictly confidential.