Driving Under the Influence in Florida
According to WTSP News in Tampa Bay, police in Lakeland recently arrested a Florida woman after she broadcast herself driving drunk via the social media app Periscope. Although the circumstances surrounding this particular arrest are unusual, DUI arrests in Florida are not uncommon. Here is what you should know about Florida’s DUI laws.
Blood Alcohol Limits
Florida treats driving under the influence (DUI) as a serious offense. The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers over age 21 is .08, and the penalties are severe. While in some states if you are stopped you may refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you cannot in Florida. Under the implied consent law, by accepting the privilege of driving a motor vehicle in the state you give your consent to submit to a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test if you are stopped by a police officer. The test must be incident to a lawful arrest and requested by a law enforcement officer with reasonable cause to believe you were driving under the influence.
For drivers under the age of 21, Florida’s zero tolerance law applies. If you are stopped with a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher, your driver’s license is suspended for six months. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the low limit means you cannot drive after even one drink (note that the legal drinking age is 21).
According to the DMV, these are the potential penalties for a first DUI conviction:
- loss of license for a minimum of one hundred eighty days;
- twelve hours of DUI school;
- fines ranging from $250-$500;
- up to fifty hours of community service;
- probation for not more than one year; and
- up to six months in prison, (nine months if there was a minor in the vehicle).
The penalties grow in severity with each additional DUI conviction. In addition, after a second conviction, you may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle when your license is reinstated. You must breathe into the device to start your car, and then again periodically while you drive. Each time you breath into the device, it records and transmits data to the DMV. The costs associated with the device can mount up. There is a deposit required, a fee for installation, and an on-going monthly fee for monitoring and calibration. You must also make monthly appointments to take the device to a calibration station to have it recalibrated.
Consult an Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, you may feel your situation is hopeless. But it is worth your while to engage experienced defense counsel in light of the severity of the penalties and potentially life-changing nature of a conviction. The Orlando criminal defense lawyers of The Baez Law Firm have successfully represented defendants throughout the state and have the skills and confidence to aggressively pursue a positive outcome in your case. Contact The Baez Law Firm for a consultation today.