Even if drivers in Florida are not familiar with the exact penalties they may face if they are arrested and convicted of drunk driving, they may know that they could face the loss of their license, fines and possibly jail time, depending upon the charges and sentencing. Drivers may only think that these penalties apply to individuals who have both the right to drive and have achieved the legal age at which they may drink alcohol; in Florida and other jurisdictions, zero tolerance laws make this assumption a falsehood.

A zero tolerance law is one that targets young drivers, such as those who are between the ages 16 and 20. These drivers may have the right to drive once they have passed their coursework and tests, but they are not yet old enough to legally consume alcohol. Zero tolerance laws therefore prohibit young drivers from operating with any alcohol in their systems.

In Florida, if a young driver’s blood alcohol concentration is above .02 percent, then that driver is considered “per se” intoxicated. Law enforcement officials do not need to show that a young driver was operating erratically or demonstrating other signs of intoxication, because their blood alcohol concentration is enough for a violation of the zero tolerance law.

Young drivers can face significant penalties and threats to their future plans if they are stopped for alleged drinking and driving. Under the state’s zero tolerance law, their blood alcohol concentration does not even need to meet the state’s .08 percent threshold for a violation. Young drivers who wish to fight their drunk driving allegations may have defense options.