Florida DUI Laws and Penalties
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in all 50 states. Laws and penalties vary from state to state. Some states may refer to a drunk driving related offense as DUI (Driving Under the Influence), DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) OVI (Operating Vehicle Impaired), or OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) but these all refer to the same offense.
An individual suspected of operating a motor vehicle impaired may initially be subjected to a field sobriety test (FST). This is a quick exercise for the driver which is used to determine whether or not they are intoxicated. The police officer may ask the individual to follow a pen with their eyes, recite the alphabet, tip their head back and touch their nose, or walk in a straight line heal to toe. These tasks are difficult to perform for an individual under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If the officer suspects a person is intoxicated after performing a field sobriety test he may subject the driver to a Breathalyzer test on the scene or he may escort the individual to the police station for a blood or urine test to determine the percentage of alcohol in their blood stream. All that is required in Florida, for a person over the age of 21, to be charged with a drunk driving related offense is a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08%. The majority of states have now passed laws which allow the arresting office to revoke the license of drivers who fail or refuse to take a breath test. These laws are referred to as Administrative License Revocation (ALR). All states have adopted zero tolerance polices which prohibit drivers under 21 from having any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood system.
The consequences of drunken driving offenses differ drastically from state to state and are influenced by the driver’s age, BAC, previous Dui convictions, and whether injury or death occurred during the incident.
Hiring an Experienced DUI Lawyer Matters
The penalties of Dui offenses vary from state to state. A(n) Dui lawyer in Florida will be able to explain these variations which include (1) harsher punishments for those arrested with BAC limits over .08, (2) special laws for underage drivers arrested for DUI, (3) possible community service or plea bargaining, (4) overlapping jurisdiction of Courts and your state's motor vehicle licensing department to suspend or revoke your license (5) contingent license programs that allow you to use your vehicle to get to and from work.
A Dui lawyer can manage the criminal process completing the required forms; making phone calls; scheduling and/or representing an individual at a Motor Vehicle Department suspension hearing, and making other necessary arrangements.
Only an experienced Dui lawyer will be able to explain the intricacies of Dui laws in Florida to determine the best resolution to each individual case. And they may be able to obtain a lesser sentence for you if your situation and state law allows for it.
You Need a DUI Lawyer If:
- You've been arrested for a second DUI (in Florida or another state) or were arrested with a BAC limit over double the legal limit as harsher penalties may apply.
- Your DUI arrest was the result of an accident or if an injury or death occurred do to your drunk driving incident.
- You are a professional driver whose livelihood depends on keeping your license.
- You don't understand your rights or DUI laws, what you need to do, or the consequences you face.
- You are in a profession (or plan to be) that requires bonding or in which any criminal conviction might prevent you from getting or keeping a professional license. If you don't know the requirements, need expert advice before handling the case yourself.