Law Offices of Ellis and Bryant, P.A.

DUI With a Minor in the Vehicle

Jacksonville Attorneys Representing Defendants in Drunk Driving Cases

The penalties for drunk driving are harsh, and it is important to understand the consequences of a criminal charge for driving under the influence (DUI). In some cases, aggravating factors may have a significant impact on the sentence imposed for a DUI conviction. One of these circumstances is DUI with a minor in the vehicle. If you have been arrested for a DUI with a passenger under the age of 18 years old in your car, you need an assertive defense lawyer who can fight for the best outcome possible in your case. At Ellis and Bryant, our Jacksonville DUI lawyers can inform you of the penalties and potential defenses that may help to avoid them.

Florida DUI With a Minor in the Vehicle

Driving while impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs, or a controlled substance is prohibited by Florida’s DUI law. If pulled over by police, a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher may be arrested on the spot. In some DUI cases, the facts surrounding the violation may also affect the severity of the charge. Enhanced penalties for a conviction can be significant, as many Florida DUI offenses are punishable by mandatory minimum penalties. In general, a conviction may result in a combination of penalties that include a fine, jail sentence, vehicle impoundment, driver license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device, substance abuse treatment, and/or other consequences.

Increased penalties are provided under Florida law for DUI convictions that involve aggravating circumstances. One of these offenses is DUI with a minor in the vehicle. Any defendant convicted of a DUI who was accompanied in the vehicle by a person under the age of 18 years at the time of the offense is subject to enhanced penalties. A first-time conviction is punishable by a minimum fine between $1,000 and $2,000, and imprisonment of up to nine months. The penalties for a second conviction may include a fine between $2,000 and $4,000 and a sentence of up to one year in jail. For a third conviction, the minimum fine is increased to $4,000. Additionally, defendants who qualify for a restricted license or have their driving privileges reinstated will be ordered by the court to install an ignition interlock device on every vehicle that they own, at their own expense. The device must remain in place for a minimum of six months for the first offense, and a minimum of two years for the second offense. The defendant may also be subject to the other penalties provided for a DUI offense. If the minor passenger is injured as a result of a DUI accident, the penalties may be more severe.

Defenses to a DUI

A conviction for DUI with a minor in the vehicle may avoided by defeating the underlying DUI. If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, he or she may not be convicted of DUI with a minor in the vehicle. Some factors that may lead to dismissal or reduction of a DUI charge include, but are not limited to, an illegal police stop, lack of probable cause, and failure to follow required procedures for a chemical test. Discuss your case with a DUI attorney to determine an appropriate defense strategy for your situation.

Seek Guidance from a Jacksonville Lawyer for a DUI with a Minor in the Vehicle

After a drunk driving arrest, you can take the first step in preserving your rights by consulting with a DUI defense attorney in Jacksonville. At Ellis and Bryant, we strive to provide compassionate legal advice and high-quality defense representation to people who need assistance in criminal proceedings. Our hardworking attorneys can defend against charges for DUI with a minor in the vehicle, DUI refusal, aggravated DUI, and more. We serve individuals residing in Duval and Clay Counties, including Jacksonville Beach, Middleburg, Orange Park, and many other locations. To request your free initial consultation, call Ellis and Bryant at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online today.