DUI With a Minor in the Vehicle

St. Petersburg Attorneys for Drunk Driving Charges

In Florida, criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI) can be more serious when aggravating circumstances are alleged in the case. Drunk or drugged driving with a child passenger is prosecuted aggressively in Florida. A conviction for DUI with a minor in the vehicle is subject to enhanced penalties, including the possibility for jail time. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we understand that most people do not plan on driving while intoxicated, and that a lapse in judgment can lead to unintended consequences. Our St. Petersburg DUI lawyers can provide compassionate and dedicated advocacy to individuals facing charges related to drunk driving. We can advise you of your options and help you assert your rights in your DUI case.

Overview of a Florida DUI With a Minor in the Vehicle

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Florida is against the law. A person may be arrested for a DUI when they are in actual physical control of a vehicle and their normal faculties are impaired by the effects of alcohol and/or drugs. In many DUI cases, the driver believed that at the time they were safe to operate their car. Nevertheless, if a breathalyzer or other chemical test determines that the driver had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above, they may be charged with a DUI. The consequences of a DUI conviction can be significant, and include the possibility of jail time, a suspended or revoked driver license, an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, and/or other penalties. When a DUI offense involves a child passenger, however, the penalties are enhanced. You can consult with a knowledgeable DUI attorney to evaluate the best way to fight a conviction in your particular case.

Penalties for DUI With a Minor in the Vehicle

A person who is convicted of a DUI and who, at the time of the offense, was driving with a person under the age of 18 in the vehicle will be subject to enhanced penalties under Florida law. Unless you avoid a conviction, the law requires the court to impose mandatory minimum penalties when a DUI is committed with a minor in the vehicle. For a first conviction, the defendant faces a jail sentence of up to nine months, and a minimum fine between $1,000 and $2,000. The defendant must install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles for six months or more if they qualify for a permanent or restricted driver license. The court may also require the defendant to complete a substance abuse course for any DUI offense.

The penalties for a DUI with a minor passenger are increased for subsequent convictions. The second and third convictions are punishable by imprisonment for up to one year. In addition, the law imposes a minimum fine between $2,000 and $4,000 for a second conviction, and a minimum $4,000 fine for a third conviction. The mandatory minimum ignition interlock device period is also increased to two years for a second offense.

It is important to note that the penalties may be more harsh if a minor passenger suffered injuries as a result of the DUI. Furthermore, the defendant may face charges for child endangerment or neglect, depending on the circumstances. However, defending against the charges may prevent a DUI conviction and the enhanced penalties for having a child passenger.

Contact a St. Petersburg Lawyer After an Arrest for DUI with a Minor in the Vehicle

If you have been charged with a DUI with a minor in the vehicle, you can fight the prosecution with help from skilled legal counsel. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our St. Petersburg attorneys have significant experience representing defendants in criminal cases for DUIs, drug crimes, theft offenses, and more. We can assist people located in Tampa Bay, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and other locations within Pinellas County. To request a free consultation, call 727-286-6141 or submit our contact form online.

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