There is a reason insurance costs double when you add a teen driver to your plan: They’re high risk. Inexperienced, irresponsible and prone to distraction, they’re far more likely to make errors and behind the wheel. They’re three times more likely to cause a fatal crash per mile driven, according to the CDC. Sometimes, poor choices may lead them on the wrong side of the law, requiring the services of Broward juvenile defense lawyers.
A recent survey by auto research firm Co-Pilot indicated Florida teen drivers are among the riskiest in the nation.
The metrics used in the study authors’ risk assessment:
- Percentage of teen drivers who don’t wear a seat belt.
- Percentage of teens who drink and drive.
- Percentage of teens who text and drive.
Here in Florida, 8 percent of teens admitted to forgoing a seatbelt, 6 percent said they drink and drive and 36 percent said they text and drive. Although they may be juveniles, they can still face substantial criminal penalties for violating traffic and safety laws, particularly if someone is hurt or they cause damage to property.
Some parents assume that they can allow their child to go through the Florida juvenile justice system unaided by legal counsel to “teach them a lesson.” The presumption is the consequences won’t be significant or truly impact the rest of their lives anyway. This is incorrect. There are ways for teens to “learn their lesson” without being thrown to the mercy of the courts without adequate legal representation.
Broward Underage Florida DUI
Florida underage DUI is when someone younger than 21 is arrested or cited for driving under the influence of alcohol. Although driver over age 21 are considered impaired when the alcohol concentration in their body is 0.08 grams, people under 21 can face fines and license suspension for having a BAC of 0.02 or more, per F.S. 322.2616. A person under 21 whose BAC is 0.08 or higher would face even more stringent penalties. If the youth is in high school or college, they may face disciplinary action from school as well.
An underage DUI conviction in Florida can have a lasting impact on one’s future. We strive for favorable outcomes in these cases that won’t hinder a teen’s future opportunities.
A teen with a blood-alcohol level of between 0.02 and 0.07 will face administrative license suspension, 6 months for a first-time offense. This is not a traffic infraction or criminal offense, but it can impact one’s ability to commute to school and work and it will remain on their driving record. It’s also going to increase insurance premiums.
If a youth has a BAC of 0.08 or higher, they’ll face a maximum $1,000 fine, up to six months in jail, potential interlock ignition mandate and possible court-ordered substance abuse treatment.
If there was a crash or serious injury involved, the penalties can be much higher, and may include substantial incarceration time.
With the help of an attorney, youthful drivers can request a hearing with the Bureau of Administrative Reviews to contest the suspension. This must be done within 10 days. If you’re concerned about your teen not learning a lesson, bear in mind there is nothing to stop YOU from revoking their driving privileges, taking their keys, etc. until they can prove more responsible.
Teen Texting and Driving in Florida
Teens who text while operating a vehicle will largely face the same penalties as adult drivers.
F.S. 316.305 makes texting and driving a primary offense, allowing police to stop drivers and issue citations for the sole offense of texting while driving. Penalties will be enhanced if the offense occurred in a designated school zone, school crossing or active construction zone. Teens driving back and forth from school may be at higher risk of an enhanced penalty, including 3 points assessed on their license.
Our dedicated Broward defense lawyers are committed to assisting juveniles accused of traffic violations and criminal offenses, fighting to ensure youthful errors in judgment don’t have long-term effects on their future.
Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
States With the Riskiest Teenage Drivers, April 2021, Co-Pilot