Florida has a message for underage drivers. Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense at any age. The state wants to get that point across early, and with emphasis.

If you are underage and pulled over for suspicion of DUI, you face serious issues. The blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers under 21 is .02. In most cases, that is equal to one drink. The state is trying to catch problem drivers early. The hope is that their drinking and driving issues can be changed before they become habitual.

You need to know the consequences

If you are under 21, several issues could impact your sentencing, including:

  • BAC between .02 to .08 percent. First-time offenders face license suspension for six months. Drivers with many convictions could lose their license for a year.
  • Test refusal. Drivers who refuse tests could lose their license for a year. Subsequence offenses can lead to a suspension for 18 months.
  • BAC of .08 percent or higher. Elevated BAC levels face higher penalties. License suspension could be from 180 days to a year. First-time offenders can be fined from $500 to $1,000. Your vehicle can be impounded. You also might be required to complete up to 50 hours of community service and six months in jail.

Younger drivers face additional charges

The court is not likely to show leniency to younger drivers. If you are under 18 and convicted of driving with a BAC of .02, you forfeit up your license for six months. The court could also require addiction evaluation and alcohol education.

Underage DUI can change your future

Conviction of underage DUI carries other unexpected problems. Many college and employment applications require disclosure of convictions. That might impact college acceptance and future job opportunities. You do not want this to destroy your life.