Florida DUI Laws
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is both illegal and dangerous. While it is safest to refrain from drinking at all if you are going to drive, it is important to understand Florida DUI laws so you can make sure to stay within the limits, and to know what the laws are if you are wrongfully accused of DUI. This article explains some of the basics of Florida’s laws regarding DUI.
Definition of DUI
DUI means driving under the influence (of drugs or alcohol). While “under the influence” is a subjective term, in Florida DUI is proven by evidence of impairment or by a blood alcohol level of or above .08. The penalty is the same no matter the method used to prove impairment.
Evidence of impairment can include a lack of coordination, slowed reflexes, and/or any other visible sign that a person is under the influence. Blood (or breath) alcohol content (BAL) is usually proven by a Breathalyzer test.
How Many Drinks Can I Have?
As noted above, the safest and best way to drink and drive is to not do it at all. People metabolize alcohol differently and there is no BAL (also called BAC) calculator that can be completely accurate. However, the rule of thumb is that an average sized man will metabolize one average sized drink (12 oz. beer, 5 oz. glass of wine, or 1.5 oz. shot) of standard strength per hour and one drink is equal to a BAL of .02. However, this is dependent on a number of factors including weight, alcohol percentage in the drink, gender, food consumed, and many other things.
The penalty for a DUI in Florida will differ depending on the number or offenses someone has on their record, the driver’s BAL and the amount of time that has elapsed between convictions.
- First Conviction– The penalties for a first conviction of DUI include a fine of $500-$1000, a mandatory 50 hours of community service, and not more than six months of imprisonment. If there is a minor in the car or the BAL of the driver is over .15 then the maximum jail sentence is nine months.
- Second Conviction – A second conviction comes with a fine of $1,000-$2,000, and up to nine months in jail. If the driver’s BAL was above .15 or there was a minor in the vehicle, then the fine is $2,000-$4,000 and not more than 12 months in jail. If the second DUI is within five years of the first DUI then there is mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days.
- Third Conviction – If the third conviction is more than 10 years after the second one then the fine is $2,000-$5,000 and up to a year of jail time. If the third conviction was within 10 years of the second conviction then the fine is at least $4,000 and there is a mandated 30 days of imprisonment.
Clearwater DUI Defense Attorneys
DUIs can come with serious penalties. If you have been charged with a DUI you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side to help you defend against the charge. If you have questions about DUI law or are facing DUI charges, contact our experienced DUI defense attorneys at Roman & Roman in Clearwater, Florida.