Driving Under the Influence (DUI), often referred to as “drunk driving,” is when a driver of a motor vehicle has a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit, or their normal faculties are impaired by drugs or alcohol.
A DUI conviction in Florida comes with severe penalties, regardless of if it is your first offense or your third. Florida drivers have implied consent to have a breath, urine, or blood test if the officer who pulled them over suspects them of drunk driving. If you refuse to take these tests, your license can be suspended for up to 12 months for the first violation.
The standard BAC limit is .08 in every state in the United States, but the “zero tolerance” and “enhanced penalty” BAC limits can vary. In the state of Florida, the “zero tolerance” limit used for persons under the age of 21 is .02 while the limit for an “enhanced penalty” is .15.
Florida Statute 316.193 states any person who is convicted of a violation of a DUI will be punished:
- By a fine of:
- Between $500-$1,000.
- By imprisonment for:
- Up to 180 days.
- Supervision for 6-12 months.
- DUI Counterattack School
- Victim Awareness Panel
- Driver’s license suspension
- Between 6-12 months (in addition to DMV suspension)
- 50 hours of community service
- 10-day vehicle immobilization (impound)
- Mandatory additional costs
- Court costs, cost of prosecution, and cost of investigation
These penalties above are increased if the DUI is enhanced by the driver having a BAC greater than .15 or by having a minor in the vehicle including:
- 6-24 months ignition interlock device
- Fine between $1,000-$4,000
In Florida, you have 10 days from the time of the arrest to save your driver’s license. First-time offenders can either request an administrative hearing or forgo the hearing to obtain a hardship license immediately.
The hearing is to determine whether the DMV correctly suspended your license for either being over the legal limit or refusing a breath test. Prior to the hearing, you will also receive a temporary hardship license. If you don’t win at the hearing, you will have a waiting period of up to 90 days to get a hardship license. If you win the hearing, your driver’s license is reinstated.
If you forgo the hearing, your license will be suspended and you will have to enroll in the DUI school prior to getting a hardship license.
Some ways to challenge DUI cases are:
- Improper stop by police
- Failure to follow proper field sobriety test protocol
- Inadequate testing and storage of blood alcohol samples
- Medical conditions
- Improper interrogation or Miranda violations
- Blood draw legal issues
DUIs are very complicated and challenging for everyone involved and can be devastating if the driver is convicted. Central Florida DUI Lawyer Brandon Gans has a great deal of experience representing clients that were issued DUIs and uses this experience to fight for his clients in court.