The time to talk to children about underage DUI is before the child is presented with a situation where he or she may consume alcohol and drive. In many cases, this happens before many parents think.
In Florida, the legal limit for a driver under the age of 21 is 0.02 percent blood alcohol content. Depending on your child's weight, a single mixed drink or can of beer can put him or her over the legal limit. The legal limit for adults is 0.08 percent-four times higher.
If your child has been arrested for underage DUI, you may be tempted to let him or her deal with the consequences in the criminal justice system. Unfortunately the penalties for underage DUI in Florida are extremely harsh, even for a first conviction. Those consequences include:
- A permanent criminal record
- Suspension of your child's driver's license
- Thousands of dollars in fines, court costs, driver's license reinstatement fees, and added insurance costs
- Possible sanctions from your child's school or university
Rather than assuming your child will never consume alcohol before he or she is 21, it's important to tell your child that even a single drink may put him over the legal limit in Florida. Consider offering to pay the cost of taxi fare if your child consumes alcohol at a party or would otherwise ride with a friend who has consumed alcohol.
If your child has been charged with DUI, seek prompt advice from a lawyer who regularly defends people charged with DUI. The lawyer who prepared your will or advised you in a business matter would not be familiar with the defenses available to someone accused of underage DUI.