Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Florida, and it carries significant legal consequences. For many, a DUI conviction can mean the loss of their driving privileges, which can have a profound impact on their daily life and responsibilities. This can be especially detrimental to persons under the age of 21.
Fortunately, for underage drivers who have had a DUI in Florida, there is a path to regaining your license, and Ticket School is here to guide you through it. Below we’ll explore the Florida DUI penalties for both drivers over and under 21 years of age and explain how Ticket School’s Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course can assist underage drivers who need a hardship license in Florida for DUI.
21+ Florida DUI Penalties
Florida DUI law imposes penalties based on the number of prior offenses and the severity of each incident.
For a first DUI offense, drivers aged 21 and over can expect:
- Fines – These range from $500 to $1,000. If the blood alcohol level (BAL) was 0.15 or higher, or if a minor was in the vehicle, fines can range from $1,000 to $2,000.
- Community Service – Mandatory 50 hours of community service or an additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.
- Probation – The total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year.
- Imprisonment – Up to 6 months in jail. This increases to up to 9 months if the BAL was 0.15 or higher, or if a minor was in the vehicle.
- Driver’s License Revocation – A minimum of 180 days and up to one year for a first offense.
- Vehicle Impoundment or Immobilization – Unless the family of the offender has no other transportation, the offender’s vehicle must be impounded or immobilized for 10 days.
Subsequent DUI offenses result in increased penalties.
For drivers found guilty of DUI in Florida with a BAL of 0.15 or higher, or who had a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the consequences are more severe, even for a first offense. This includes higher fines, longer imprisonment periods, and the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for up to six months for a first offense.
Underage Florida DUI Penalties
In Florida, the legal BAL for drivers under the age of 21 is 0.02. This is in line with Florida’s zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving.
For a DUI under 21, consequences—in the form of legal penalties and additional repercussions—can be serious, even for a first offense. Key penalties for underage DUI in Florida include:
- License Suspension – For an underage DUI, the driver’s license is automatically suspended for 6 months for a first offense. If the BAL is 0.05 or higher, the suspension continues until the individual completes a substance abuse course.
- Mandatory Evaluation and Education – If the BAL is 0.05 or higher, the underage driver must complete a substance abuse evaluation and education course before reinstatement of driving privileges is considered.
- Community Service – This may be ordered at the discretion of the court and is often a part of the penalty for an under-21 DUI.
For drivers under 21 caught with a BAL over 0.08, the same penalties apply as they would for drivers over 21.
Getting a Hardship License
If you are under the age of 21 and have had a license suspended due to a BAL violation between 0.02 and 0.05, then you can obtain a hardship license.
In Florida, a hardship license is a special type of driver’s license granted to individuals whose driving privileges have been suspended or revoked due to accumulation of points, court order, being labeled a habitual traffic offender, or DUIs. This restricted or hardship license permits limited driving, typically for essential purposes like commuting to work, school, medical appointments, or other necessary daily activities. While the steps and requirements to get a hardship are similar there can be some differences between those with a DUI from those with points, HTO, or orders from a court or DMV.
The restricted / hardship license application form requires that you select whether you have enrolled in or completed either a licensed DUI program or a 12 hour Advanced Driver Improvement Program (ADI) such as what is offered on TicketSchool.com. It is our experience that if you are a first time DUI offender, typically you will need to enroll in a licensed DUI program and provide proof of that enrollment when submitting your application for hardship with the Florida DHSMV. It is extremely important to determine which course (DUI or ADI) is needed for you by contacting one of the administrative review offices on the hardship application form or an attorney familiar with your record. There will be a hardship application filing fee of $12, which is separate from any FLHSMV fees associated with your license suspension and revocation, including a $130 Administrative Fee for alcohol- and drug-related offenses.
Contact Ticket School today with any questions about getting your hardship license in Florida.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney for advice on your specific situation.