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Underage DUI Investigation

Florida's statute for underage drinking also provides for the administrative suspension of the driving privilege of any driver under age twenty-one (21) who is found to have a breath alcohol or blood alcohol level of 0.02 or higher.

During an underaged drinking investigation, the officer is trained to:

  • interview the driver, verify the driver's age and check for signs of impairment;
  • check the driver for a medical bracelet;
  • have the driver perform standardized field sobriety exercises if reasonable suspicion exists; and
  • rule out probable cause to make an arrest for DUI.

If no DUI arrest is to be made, but there are indications of alcoholic beverage consumption, the officer will determine if the driver is in violation of Section 322.2616, Florida Statutes.

Florida Statute Section 322.2616 applies to underage drinking and driving investigations and the suspension of the license for violations of Florida's zero-tolerance policy. When the law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion, the officer has the authority to temporarily detain the young person and determine if the underage driver have any breath alcohol or blood alcohol level.

Finding an Attorney for Underaged Drink Driving in Florida

If you were accused of drinking and driving while under the age of 21 years old, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.

We are experienced representing young people charged with DUI or a zero tolerance suspension for having a BAC level at .02 or higher. We also represent clients accused of refusing to take the breath test.

Call 813-250-0500.


Determining Probable Cause for DUI or the 322.2616 Violation

The officer is trained to first rule out the possibility that the driver is legally impaired under Section 316.193, before checking for a violation of Section 322.2616, Florida Statutes. If the driver is impaired by alcohol or a chemical or controlled substance, then the officer will make a DUI arrest.

If the officer makes a DUI arrest, then the consequences are more serious than if a Section 322.2616 violation had occurred. If the officer doesn't have probable cause of impairment, then the officer will begin a Section 322.2616 violation investigation.


Underage Zero Tolerance Suspensions and the Notice of Suspension

For the Section 322.2616 violation investigation, the officer will determine if the driver has a breath alcohol or blood alcohol level of 0.02 or higher. In these cases. after 20 minutes of being with the driver, the officer will request that the driver perform a breath test utilizing the Portable Breath Test (PBT) instrument.

An officer with training to utilize the PBT through the manufacturer and/or the officer's agency is authorized to request that the driver to take a minimum of one breath test to determine the driver's breath alcohol level.

If no PBT is available to administer the breath test(s), the person may be taken to a local testing facility to determine breath alcohol or blood alcohol content. The driver shall then be transported back to the location that they were taken from and released.

If the breath sample yields a breath alcohol or blood alcohol level of 0.02 or higher, the member will take the driver's license and issue a Notice of Suspension (HSMV 78103).

If the driver refuses to give a breath sample, the member will read the implied consent warning from the Zero Tolerance Citation (HSMV 78103) to the driver. If the driver continues to refuse, the member will take the driver's license and issue the Notice of Suspension.

If there is no arrest for another violation and the driver is age 18-20, the driver will be released and advised not to drive, after reasonable steps are taken to ensure the safety of the individual in accordance with policy. An attempt to contact a responsible adult to come take possession of the vehicle will be made. The vehicle may be towed if a responsible person cannot come to drive the vehicle away.

If there is no custodial arrest for another violation and the person is under age 18, the member will attempt to contact a parent, guardian, or legal custodian to come pick up the vehicle and juvenile.

If contact with a responsible person is unable to be made, the vehicle shall be towed, and transportation to the juvenile’s residence shall be obtained. Transportation to the Juvenile Center/Shelter will be made if the residence is out of the general area.


This article was last updated on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.

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