DUI/DWI – Driving Under The Influence

DUI/DWI – Driving Under The Influence

In the State of Florida, you commit the offense of Driving Under the Influence or “DUI” if you drive, or are in actual physical control of, a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance under Chapter 893, Florida Statutes, or certain chemical substances, AND your ability to safely drive is impaired (as evidenced by your normal faculties being affected) OR you have a breath-alcohol level (BAL) of .08 grams or higher of alcohol per 210 liters of breath (or per 100 milliliters of blood if you have a blood test), as proscribed by s. 316.193, Florida Statutes. Technically speaking, you can still be guilty of DUI if your normal faculties are impaired, regardless of whether you take a breath-alcohol test or your breath or blood-alcohol test measures lower than a .08 BAL. You are also in violation of the DUI statute if you drive with any level of a controlled substance or certain chemical substances and your normal faculties are impaired.

Your breath-alcohol level is determined by blowing into a breath-test machine, called an “Intoxilyzer” or “Breathalyzer,” that is administered by a law enforcement officer who is trained and certified to give such tests. In Florida, for the “privilege” of driving upon the roads of Florida, there is an “implied consent” by drivers to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test if a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion that you have been drinking and has probable cause to arrest you and pursuant to a lawful arrest asks you to take a breath test or, under certain circumstances, another type of test to determine a person’s blood-alcohol level or the presence of any controlled substance or certain chemical substances. If you refuse to submit to a breath-alcohol test, your driver’s license is administratively suspended for one year upon a first refusal and 18 months upon a second-incident refusal, as per s. 316.1932, Florida Statutes.

DUI – FLORIDA STATUTORY PENALTIES:

1st DUI Conviction requires certain mandatory sentences such as:

  1. A six-month driver license suspension;
  2. DUI Program and an alcohol evaluation and completion of any referred subsequent treatment;
  3. 50 hours of community service;
  4. A $500.00 fine plus court costs;
  5. A ten day vehicle immobilization;
  6. A six-month to 1-year probationary period;
  7. A possible six month to two year vehicle ignition interlock device; and
  8. A potential jail sentence up to six months.

If a driver is convicted for the first time, but his/her Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) is .15 or higher or the person is convicted for the first time and at the time of the first offense was accompanied by a person under the age of 18, the fine is increased to not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000, and potential jail sentence may be increased up to 9 months. In addition to these increased penalties, the court must also impose the placement of an Ignition Interlock Device on a vehicle primarily used by the defendant for a minimum of 6 months up to 2 years.

If you have already been convicted of a prior DUI, the penalties that you may face will be greater and may include…

2nd DUI Conviction within 5 years of a prior conviction:

  1. Minimum of $500 of fines for a Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) under .15, or a minimum of $1,000 of fines for a BAL of .15 or higher or the offense was committed while accompanied by a person under the age of 18;
  2. Mandatory imprisonment of 10 days, with a maximum imprisonment of 9 months if your BAL is under .15, or 12 months if your BAL is .15 or higher or the offense was committed while accompanied by a person under the age of 18;
  3. A six-month to 1-year probationary period;
  4. DUI Program with substance abuse evaluation and completion of any referred subsequent treatment;
  5. Impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle for a minimum of 30 days;
  6. A minimum of a 5 year license revocation, with hardship reinstatement eligibility after one year; and
  7. Minimum 2 year placement of an Ignition Interlock Device on a vehicle primarily owned/used by the defendant.

2nd DUI Conviction, 5 years after your prior conviction:

  1. Minimum of $500 of fines for a BAL under .15, or a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $4,000 of fines for a BAL of .15 or higher or the offense was committed while accompanied by a person under the age of 18;
  2. Maximum imprisonment of 9 months if your BAL was under .15 or 12 months jail if your BAL is .15 or higher or the offense was committed while accompanied by a person under the age of 18;
  3. A six-month to 1-year probationary period;
  4. DUI Program with substance abuse evaluation and completion of any referred subsequent treatment;
  5. Impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle;
  6. Minimum drivers license revocation of 180 days; and
  7. Minimum 2 year placement of an Ignition Interlock Device on a vehicle primarily owned/used by the defendant.

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