Fort Pierce, FL- It’s no secret teens take a lot of risks when they are behind the wheel which is why traffic accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Regrettably, drinking and driving is one of those unnecessary and deadly risks teens make, so they and their parents need to be aware of the consequences of an underage DUI.

Unlike some states, Florida has no tolerance policy regarding underage drinking with no exceptions, so it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. A teen is considered drunk if their blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.02 percent, which equates to just one or two drinks on average.

What are the penalties?

A young person convicted of their first DUI with a blood alcohol concentration below 0.08 percent won’t be facing a jail sentence, but if a young person’s BAC reaches or exceeds the legal limit, judges can sentence that person to jail for an amount of time they deem necessary. Fines for an underage DUI range between $1,000 and $2,000 and the teen will have their license suspended for six months.

For the underage driver, a second DUI offense carries a jail sentence of 10 days to 12 months, depending on the circumstances of the driver’s arrest. Causing a fatal accident, for example, would be likely to result in the maximum penalty. Fines range between $2,000 and $4,000 are depend on high the offender’s BAC was at the time of their arrest.

Those penalties are troublesome enough, but the legal headaches of an underage DUI don’t stop there since offenders usually face additional charges such as additional traffic violations, minor in possession of alcohol, distributing alcohol to a minor, child endangerment and soliciting a minor.

Sometimes teens think if they refuse to submit to sobriety or chemical tests will keep them from being charged with a DUI, but that isn’t true. Refusing sobriety tests result in automatic license suspension and costly fines.

If you are facing an underage DUI, USAttorneys urges you to speak with a DUI lawyer who serves Fort Pierce to work on your defense. With legal help, you might be offered a plea bargain, which can result in a lenient sentence and avoid a severe sentence.

As a teen, a conviction for a DUI reflects poorly on them and can negatively impact their educational opportunities. A DUI can also keep a person from pursuing certain careers and make it difficult to get a good job. Rest assured, the consequences of an underage DUI will be far-reaching, and it is to your benefit to get legal assistance. USAttorneys will connect you with a DUI lawyer in Florida who will help you beat or minimize your underage DUI. Contact a lawyer soon and let them get started on your defense.