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Administrative Suspension for Underage Drivers

Florida Statute §322.2615: Suspension of License; Persons Under 21 Years of Age

The state of Florida does not take underage drinking and driving lightly. Should someone under the age of 21 be found to be driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02 percent or higher, they will be arrested for driving while under the influence. Per §322.2616 of the Florida Statutes, should a law enforcement officer believe that a person under the age of 21 to be under the influence of alcohol may request that that person subject to a blood alcohol or breath alcohol test to confirm.

Should it be determined that the BAC is over 0.02, the officer will have permission to suspend the subject's driver's license. If the driver refused to submit to the breath alcohol test, they will automatically have their license suspended for a year and 18 months if they have previously refused to submit. For someone who would found with a BAC over 0.02 while under the age of 21, they will have their license suspended for six months the first time, and a year if they had previously been found to be operating a motor vehicle with an unlawful BAC.

At the time of the arrest, the subject will be given a 10 day temporary driving permit (which becomes effective 12 hours later) – within this 10 day window, the subject will be able to request either a formal or informal review of their suspension with the department. If the driver was found with a BAC over 0.05 percent, the department will suspend the license entirely until the driver has successfully completed a licensed substance abuse course, the fees of which the driver is responsible for.

Requesting a DMV Hearing

If the underage driver requests an informal hearing, the department will conduct one within 30 days of the request, held by a hearing officer from the department. The driver will be given a business permit for the time following the expiration of the 10 day temporary permit. The informal hearing will be held to examine all materials that have been submitted by a law enforcement officer – there is no need for a witness to testify or for the officer to even be present. The notice of the department's decision will be mailed to the defendant within seven days after the review.

Similarly, if a driver requests a formal hearing, it must be held by a hearing officer from the department within 30 days of the request. It differs, however, in that the hearing my include witness testimony, evidence and subpoenas – the hearing officer will also have the authority to regulate the course and conduct of the hearing. Should the person who requested the hearing fail to show, their right to hearing will be waived and the suspension will automatically be sustained. If the hearing, however, is held, the department will send notice of their decision to the defendant within seven days of the actual hearing.

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