DUI & DWI
DUI Florida Laws
If you have consumed any amount of intoxicating substances, you should never get behind the wheel, even if you don’t feel impaired. The fact is, if you have a blood alcohol level (BAL) reaching 0.08% in the state of Florida, you are going to be arrested for a DUI offense, regardless of whether or not you feel intoxicated. While some people may think that the reaching the legal limit behind the wheel is the only way to get a DUI, the truth is that you can be arrested for a DUI with a lesser amount of alcohol in your blood if you are impaired in any way. Impairment means that you are not able to make the best decisions to drive safely and your reaction time is reduced, and can lead to a DUI offense if you have a BAL as low as 0.01%. Understanding the laws as you drive in the state of Florida is important if you want to avoid prosecution, heavy fines, and loss of driving privileges, as well as a criminal record that will follow you for life. The help of an attorney is always an essential asset if you do find yourself facing a DUI conviction that could carry some extreme penalties that you will want to avoid or lessen as much as possible.
· F.S. 316.193: Driving under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or chemical substances. Driving in the state of Florida with a BAL of 0.08 or more, or the impairment of your normal faculties due to consumption of an alcoholic beverage or any controlled or chemical substance is a DUI offense punishable by the state.
· F.S. 316.193(2) (a)-(b): Fine Schedule. 1st DUI conviction in Florida carries a fine between $500 and $1,000, enhanced with a BAL of or greater than 0.15 to between $1,000 and $2,000. 2nd DUI conviction in Florida carries a fine between $1,000 and $2,000, increasing for offenders with a BAL of or more than 0.15 or if the offender was transporting a minor at the time of the offense to between $2,000 and $4,000. 3rd DUI conviction in Florida over 10 years from the 2nd conviction carries a fine between $2,000 and $5,000, enhanced with a BAL of 0.15 or greater or if there was a minor present in the vehicle at the time of the offense to a fine no less than $4,000. Each 4th or subsequent DUI conviction in Florida carries a fine no less than $2,000.
· F.S. 316.193: Community Service. The first DUI conviction in the state of Florida requires mandatory 50 hours community service or an additional fine for $10 per hour of community service.
· F.S. 316.193 (5) (6): Probation. The first DUI conviction in Florida will require a total of no more than 1 year incarceration or probation.
· F.S. 316.193 (2) (a) 2, 4(b), (6) (j): Imprisonment. When sentenced to imprisonment for a DUI conviction in the state of Florida, the court may allow terms to be served within an approved residential alcoholism or drug treatment program to be credited to the term of imprisonment sentenced. 1st DUI conviction carries a jail term up to 6 months, increasing to a term no greater than 9 months if BAL is 0.15 or greater or if a minor was present in vehicle at time of offense. 2nd DUI conviction carries a jail term up to 9 months, increasing to a term no greater than 12 months for a BAL of 0.15 or more or if a minor was present in the vehicle at the time of the offense. If the 2nd conviction is within 5 years of the prior DUI conviction, there is a mandatory jail term of a minimum of 10 days, with 48 hours consecutive confinement. 3rd DUI conviction, if within 10 years of prior DUI conviction, carries jail term of a minimum of 30 days, with at least 48 hours consecutive confinement. If the third conviction is obtained more than 10 years after a prior DUI conviction, there is a jail term not to exceed 12 months. 4th and subsequent DUI convictions carry a jail term of up to 5 years per F.S. 775.084, classified as a habitual/violent offender.
· F.S. 322.61: CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicles). Any person who is convicted of driving a commercial vehicle while either under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance or has a BAL of 0.04% or higher or refuses to submit to any chemical testing to determine BAL while operating or while in full control of a commercial vehicle shall lose privileges to operate a commercial motor vehicle for 1 full year in addition to any other penalties received for a DUI conviction per s. 316.193. The second or any subsequent conviction results in the permanent loss of privileges to operate a commercial motor vehicle, with no provisions therein for ability to obtain hardship license.
· F.S. 316.1932; F.S. 316.1933; F.S. 316.1934; F.S. 316.1939: Implied Consent Law. Refusal to submit to chemical testing through blood, breath, or urine can be used as evidence during proceedings during DUI criminal case. 2nd and subsequent refusal classified as 1st degree misdemeanor. First refusal results in suspension of license for 1 year with second or subsequent refusals resulting in 18 month suspension.
· Section 322.2616 of the Florida Statutes provides legal authorization for law enforcement to detain any minor under the age of 21 if there is probably cause for belief that the minor is in operation or control of a vehicle while intoxicated to any level and request submission to chemical testing. If the minor is found to have a BAL Of 0.02 or higher, the license is suspended for 6 months, increasing to 1 year for any second or subsequent convictions.
· Section 316.193 requires an Ignition Interlock Device to be installed in any vehicle that belongs to any person convicted of a DUI in the state of Florida.
As Florida is home to one of the larger communities of the United States, there is a higher rate of drunken driving accidents, fatalities, and arrests, reaching some of the higher numbers in the nation. Within 2006, the Florida DMV recorded 34,638 separate DUI convictions within the state, dropping 8% from the prior year.
2006 Florida DUI convictions by city reached 4,107 in Tampa; 2,760 in St. Petersburg; 2,170 in Jacksonville; 1,824 in Miami; 1,665 in Melbourne; and 1,606 in Fort Lauderdale, constituting some of the highest numbers in Florida within the largest cities as well. The average costs for a DUI conviction in the state of Florida with all fines and fees assessed can reach $8,000.
· The highest percentage of Florida alcohol related traffic fatalities was in 1983 with the highest total number of deaths in 1986.
· In 2008, 29% of Florida alcohol related traffic fatalities, 875, involved drivers with a BAL of 0.08 or greater.
· 41% of all 2007 traffic deaths in Florida were due to alcohol impaired drivers.
· In 2009, there were 770 total fatalities due to alcohol impaired drivers, 79 of which involved drivers under the age of 21 driving while intoxicated.
· 73% of all 2009 alcohol influenced fatalities involved drivers with a BAL of 0.15 or higher.
· There were 53,004 total arrests in Florida during 2009 due to driving under the influence, with 269 arrests of minors under the age of 18.
· If you are arrested in the state of Florida and found with a BAL of or greater than 0.80, or even if you are just impaired and have a lower BAL, you stand to lose your license and your vehicle as well.
· During 2008, the Florida Highway Patrol recorded 10,732 DUI arrests.
· In 2006, DUI violations recorded was 63,591, rising by 1.29% to 64,410 in ’07.
· Pending DUI dispositions in 2006 totaled 21,217, dropping to 20,919 during 2007.
· There were 34,638 total DUI convictions in 2006 and 35,372 convictions in 2007.
· During 2000, there was a driver with a BAL of or more than 0.08 for every 110 miles driven through Florida.
· There were 128,800 accidents, killing 930 people and injuring 43,000 due to a driver with a BAL reaching .10 or higher during 2000.
· Drivers with a BAL reaching between .08 and .09 caused approximately 2,200 accidents killing 76 people and injuring 1,900 during 2000.
· Even drivers with a BAL below the legal limit remaining under 0.08 were in approximately 4,300 accidents, killing 185 people and injuring 4,200.
· Alcohol is attributed to over 25% of Florida crash costs on the road.