Panama City Underage DUI Charges

DUI Attorney for Underage Defendants in Panama City, FL

For drivers 21 years or older, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in Florida is 0.08%. For drivers under 21, the legal BAC limit is .02. A conviction for underage DUI is a serious matter. The DUI penalties imposed on underage drivers can include up to 6 months in jail, fines up to $1000 (not including court costs), vehicle impoundment, community service, driver's license suspension, and probation.

Another consequence of underage DUI will be increased insurance premiums, which can go for as long as three years after you have been convicted. It can put a limit on your employment opportunities. You can also be expelled from school or face other disciplinary actions from an educational institution. If you or your minor child has been arrested for DUI, it would be best to contact a DUI attorney in Panama City for help. You will need a knowledgeable, proven defense lawyer who knows how to defend DUI charges filed against underage drivers.

What happens when you are arrested for underage DUI?

When an officer stops due to a suspicion that you are driving under the influence, he or she can require that you submit to a breath, blood or urine test to verify if you have been drinking, and how much. If your tests show you are above the legal limit, you will be arrested and charged. The officer will take your license, and if you qualify, will issue you a temporary driver's permit. This permit is only valid for 10 days.

A review hearing should be scheduled within those 10 days. A DUI defense lawyer can subpoena any witnesses in your favor to testify. He can also cross-examine other witnesses. During this hearing, your attorney could also gather information that can be used to defend you in criminal court. In some cases, it could be possible to gain an extension of the temporary permit, allowing you to drive during the duration of the criminal case. A successful hearing could result in a reinstatement of your driver's license and legal right to operate a vehicle.

If the hearing is not successful in stopping the suspension, or if a hearing was never scheduled within the time limits, then the Administrative License Suspension will go into effect. If you were found to have a BAC over the legal limit of 0.02%, your license will be suspended for 6 months with 30 days of hard suspension. This is for a first offense. For 30 days, you will not be allowed to drive at all. After that, it's possible you might be eligible for a hardship license, meaning you might be allowed to drive to work or school.

If you refused to take the field sobriety test and this is your first underage DUI, your suspension will be for 1 year instead of 6 months, and there will be a 90-day period of hard suspension instead of 30 days.

If the testing showed that your BAC was 0.05% or more, you will have to complete DUI School before your suspension is over. This is a program that educates offenders about drinking and driving. You will probably have to submit to a substance abuse evaluation as well as mandated by the court. If it is your 2nd or more offense, the suspension will be for 12 months, and you will not be eligible for a "business" or "school" license. If you refused to submit to the testing, the suspension will be for 18 months rather than 1 year.

Fighting for the Rights of Young Drivers

Don't let your future be jeopardized needlessly. Mr. Shepard, the founding attorney from Shepard Law in Panama City, is skilled and experienced in defending DUI cases, and is personally committed to protecting the rights of young people facing criminal charges. His success in handling these cases is recognized throughout the legal community. Contact us today for the help you need.