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Long Term Consequences of an Underage DUI in Florida

Recent data for underage drinkers show that in 2011, alcohol impaired driving resulted in a 26% fatality rate in drunk drivers under the age of 21 in Florida alone. Nationally, among 15- to 20-year old drivers involved in a fatal crash, 33% of the drivers killed had been drinking.

Any driver under 21 who has been chemically tested and produced blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) results of 0.02% or higher can be charged with underage DUI. Immediate consequences of an underage DUI conviction include imprisonment for up to two months in an appropriate facility, a $500 – $1,000 fine, and at least a six month license suspension.

Criminal record

While these punishments are certainly inconvenient, the long-term consequences of having a criminal record are far more noteworthy.

Anyone who runs a background check on you will see that you have a criminal record. This includes colleges, loan officers and employers; most companies run background checks on job candidates. Some companies run thorough enough checks to see what offense is on a criminal record, and where an underage DUI may not be judged as harshly as a violent crime, it will likely be viewed less favorably than a candidate that does not have a record. Other companies run minimal background checks and may only see that a candidate has a record, not for which offenses, and exclude that job-seeker from further consideration.

Insurance costs rise

Auto insurance companies may drop a convicted driver from their policy, as an underage DUI conviction shows high-risk behavior. Other insurers may instead view such an outcome as an opportunity to charge higher premiums and raise policies $100 – $200.

Subsequent crimes

Being found guilty of a crime within a few years of an initial conviction can often inform the new conviction’s sentence. DUI has such power. If one has been found guilty of a DUI and another crime within seven years, judges are often inspired to sentence offenders to the higher penalties established in criminal guidelines.

If you’ve been arrested for underage DUI in Florida, call a criminal defense lawyer. It may be your best chance to reduce charges or get a full acquittal.

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