Florida is infamous for having some of the harshest laws for driving under the influence (DUI) in the United States. The penalties for a DUI conviction can include expensive fines you are required to pay out of pocket, DUI courses, community service hours and even possible incarceration. However, the consequences for a DUI conviction are enhanced drastically if the court proves there is a child passenger in the vehicle at the time.
Advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have pushed for additional DUI child endangerment penalties to deter people from driving drunk with a child in the car. Florida is one of those 46 states that has a specific child endangerment section. Prosecutors will aggressively seek maximum punishments in these cases, and judges can similarly come down hard on individuals who are facing such charges.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI with a child passenger, then it’s imperative you seek experienced legal representation.
Were you recently arrested for DUI in with a minor under the age of 18 in your vehicle? You should not wait any longer to seek experienced legal representation. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. is a group of reputable attorneys who have an extensive background in driving under the influence (DUI).
Fight your charges by securing trusted counsel with Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. The Fort Lauderdale DUI with minor in the vehicle attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. fully investigate these arrests and fight to defend clients in Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County. Let us review your case during a free, confidential consultation by calling (561) 557-8686 right now.
Overview of DUI with a Child in FL
The state of Florida has implemented harsh penalties for those convicted of DUI with a child passenger present to protect minors from a situation they have no control in. Florida Statute Section 316.193 lists the penalties for a child endangerment DUI conviction.
Before moving forward it’s important you understand your penalties can be enhanced even further depending on your record. If this is your second DUI conviction within the last five years, then you will be required to complete a mandatory imprisonment term of at least 10 days in jail. If it’s your third conviction within the last 10 years of your first or second conviction, then you will be court ordered to a mandatory imprisonment for at least 30 days.
When a person is convicted of DUI with a child passenger, the court is obligated to order the defendant to install or purchase a portable alcohol monitoring device. There are two types of portable alcohol monitoring devices one is a portable breath test (PBT) and one is an ignition interlock device (IID). If the defendant doesn’t own a car, they will be court ordered to purchase an PBT. However, most offenders convicted of DUI own a vehicle and are instead court ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their car.
An ignition interlock device (IID) is essentially a breathalyzer attached to an engine. The purpose of the device is to stop the offender from driving drunk. To turn on the car, the person must blow into the breathalyzer device attached to the car. If the person has a BAC of .08 or higher, then the engine will be locked. The device will also not allow you to have someone else blow for you because it requires “rolling tests.” This is when the device beeps asking for another breath sample. If you don’t submit a breath sample, the car will turn on the horn, lights and wipers until you pull over.
It’s incredibly difficult to navigate Florida cities without a motor vehicle. Many Floridians use their vehicles to commute to work, perform household errands or pick up their children. Unfortunately, if you have been arrested for a DUI your license will be suspended after 10 days of your arrest. The suspension isn’t a criminal consequence, but instead an administrative one.
In Florida, you have 10 days to demand a formal review hearing with the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). Once that deadline is up, you will have missed your chance to contest your suspension. At the hearing, you and your representation can present reasons why the suspension isn’t necessary or why you would need a restricted license.
Some DUI offenders can receive a hardship license in the face of their suspension. The license allows them to drive during certain times of day to perform certain activities such as going to school or work. However, not everyone is eligible for a hardship license. Those who have done the following cannot qualify for a hardship license.
Ashley’s Dream – Visit the official website for the Foundation of Ashely’s Dream, an organization who aims to do whatever possible to stop drunk driving. Access the site to learn more about how they promote awareness, provide resources and do whatever possible to prevent drivers from engaging in drunk driving.
Florida DUI Laws – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and find more information about DUI laws and penalties. Access the site to learn the criminal and administrative consequences if you drive drunk.
If you are facing charges related to DUI child endangerment after allegedly being intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 18 in your vehicle, it is critical for you to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents clients throughout South Florida, including West Palm Beach, Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Worth, Jupiter, Greenacres, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, and more.
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* Some restrictions apply. Non-Criminal infractions only. Court costs additional, if any. Call for more information.
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