Studies indicate that every drink consumed elevates the blood alcohol level (BAC) by 0.05% and as the maximum allowable level for a driver in Florida is 0.08, then unless you really think that the drink you are likely to consume is not going to exceed the limit, then you are best to stay out of your car if you intend to drink.
DUI is a serious offense in Florida and other states as well. The State’s drunk driving laws do not allow drivers to drive any type of vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) which exceeds 0.08% or more. The 0.08% BAC limit is a standard measurement that is used throughout the country for the “impaired” driver. The limit is significantly lower for commercial vehicles at 0.04% and drops even further for those under the age of 21 to 0.02%.
The strict laws for DUI in Florida mean when you do end up drinking and driving, you are taking a risk with your freedom and your finances, which could affect your future as well. If you do get caught, you will need a DUI lawyer to assist you to handle the court process and ensure that the evidence provided is sufficient to convict you.
Penalties for DUI
When convicted for drunk driving for the first time in Florida a possible penalty could be up to 6 months in a jail. If a person who was a minor was traveling in the vehicle as well when the test took place, or if the driver’s BAC was 0.15 or more, the driver could be sent to jail for up to 9 months and be fined up to $2,000. A suspension of the driver’s license for 6 months is a penalty as well. You will be required to undertake 50 hours of community work or, as a substitute, pay $10 for each hour of community work required. Completing DUI school is a requirement as well.
If convicted a second time in Florida, a 9 month jail sentence could be imposed and a longer period, up to 12 months, if a minor was in the vehicle at the time, or if the BAC is or exceeds 0.15.
If a second conviction takes place 5 years after the first, it is mandatory for the driver to remain in jail for 10 days. 2 days has to be consecutive. The vehicle will be impounded for 30 days unless the family related to the driver has no other form of transport. A fine up to $2,000 dollars will be imposed, too. A BAC higher than 0.15 and a minor in the vehicle as well will incur a fine up to $4,000. If this has been taken within 5 years of the second offense, the drivers license will be suspended for up to 5 years. Attending DUI school is required if the court makes that decision.
A third drunk driving conviction means up to 12 months in jail, serving a minimum of 30 days and a fine up to $5,000. The vehicle will be removed for 90 days. If the BAC was more than 0.15, or a minor was traveling in the vehicle, a minimum of $4,000 will be paid as a fine and the driver license will be suspended for 10 years.
In 2010, Florida lowered penalties for repeat DUI offenders who had been caught four times. These requirements now include a 10-year driving free period with no driving allowed in that time as long as there is no manslaughter in the charge. The defendant is required to take part in alcohol treatment for six months after the return of the license.
As DUI sentences are accumulative and have such an effect on your finances and ability to move around and keep a job, you are best using an experienced DUI lawyer to assess your situation. It is possible that your charge can be reduced or even thrown out if the lawyer is able to find inconsistencies or inaccuracies n the way you were arrested or charged.