5 Things You Should Know About Florida DUI Law

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5 Things You Should Know About Florida DUI Law

One of the most common dangers associated with drinking is that it often provides a false sense of security. Someone who is feeling the effects of alcohol will think that everything is fine and that they’re okay to drive. In truth, they’re impaired and not knowing the difference between what is safe vs. dangerous. Florida authorities take drinking and driving infractions very seriously. Here are five things you should know about Florida DUI laws:

DUI School

Courts recognized that there might be underlying issues with regard to alcohol abuse that have to be addressed. That is why the courts might sometimes order attendance at a DUI school or alcohol addiction treatment as part of the sentence. The Recovery Village explains, “treatments may include medical detox, inpatient or outpatient care, or hospitalization.” In many cases, this kind of treatment can actually be a lifesaver.

BAC Limits

Your blood alcohol content or BAC will determine whether or not you’re legally drunk. AlcoPro explains that, “The following drinks have the same amount of alcohol:  12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. wine, 1 1/2 oz. liquor. The body eliminates alcohol to lower BAC level approximately 0.015 per hour.There is nothing a person can do to speed up the elimination of alcohol from the body.”  Here are the BAC levels that can lead to a DUI conviction:

  • Drivers under 21: .02%
  • Drivers 21 or over: .08%
  • Commercial Drivers: .04%

Depending on the device used to determine your BAC, there might be a margin of error. That is something a criminal defense lawyer can help establish.

Ignition Interlock Device

An ignition interlock device or IID might be court ordered as a result of a DUI conviction. You can think of this as a kind of “house arrest” for your car. Yes, you’ll be able to use your car, but in order to start the engine, you’ll need to take a breathalyzer test that is tied to your ignition. If you fail the test, then the car won’t start. LifeSafer explains, “to take the test, the driver simply blows into the device. If the sample is good, then the vehicle will start as usual. If alcohol is detected, the driver must wait before testing again. The first time alcohol is detected, the wait time is a few minutes, but if subsequent tests are failed the driver is locked out for increasingly longer periods.” Keep in mind, that the ignition interlock device is for whoever is driving that car, not just the convicted motorist. In other words, there is no bypass.

Penalties Are Harsh

StateofFlorida.com outlines that the penalties for a DUI conviction in Florida are meant to be a harsh deterrent. The following are the penalties that a judge could order:

  • 1st offense – Up to six months in jail, up $2,000 in fines, up to one-year possible license suspension, IID
  • 2nd offense – Up to nine months in jail, up to $4,000 in fines, up to five years possible license suspension, IID
  • 3rd offense – Up to five years in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, up to 10 years license suspension, IID

You Need Representation

Even if a first-time offense, the penalties can be a major disruption in anyone’s life. This is why obtaining the services of a criminal defense lawyer is vital. There are mitigating circumstances that a lawyer can use in your defense. There will also be options to plead down to lesser charges in the hopes of a minimum sentence. An experienced lawyer will know the best way forward.

A DUI arrest should serve as a wake-up call. It can be an opportunity to get treatment and move on from the mistake. That process begins by obtaining sound legal advice.

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