How Florida’s courts may handle underage DUI

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2022 | blog, Juvenile Crimes

Motorists under age 21 could lose their driver’s licenses if law enforcement provides evidence of DUI. According to the Florida Legislature, the law prohibits individuals under 21 to drive with a blood-alcohol content level higher than 0.02.

Adults 21 and older may not face DUI charges with a BAC lower than 0.08. Drinking and driving under the age of 21, however, allows courts to order penalties when field test results reveal more than the underage 0.02 BAC limit.

Evidence prosecutors may submit

Highway patrol officials may pull motorists over when they observe drivers breaking traffic laws. With a reasonable belief that a driver consumed alcohol, an officer may request a roadside sobriety or breath alcohol test. As noted by WebMD, most officials use portable electronic testing devices that require motorists to blow into a mouthpiece.

The results of a breath test may serve as a prosecutor’s evidence to prove intoxication. During a hearing, the court may review witness testimonies or technological issues related to the test device. In some cases, it may prove difficult to verify that the test results reflect an actual blood alcohol level greater than the 0.02 underage limit.

Issues that may affect field test accuracy

The results of a field device breath test may not reliably provide accurate blood alcohol content readings. In some cases, motorists could show high BAC levels after consuming breath fresheners or chewing gum. Officials administering breath tests may also lack adequate training in using their field devices. Software glitches or worn batteries could also lead to testing errors.

Florida residents of all ages could lose their driving privileges for failing to submit to breath tests when requested. Providing evidence to disprove the results of field tests may, however, counter DUI charges or reduce penalties.