DUI Consequences in Florida
If you drink alcohol and drive you dramatically increase your chance of being in a crash. In addition, if you are pulled over and the officer asks you to take a blood, urine or breath test you are required to comply. Florida has the “Implied Consent Law”. Implied consent is consent which is not expressly granted by a person, but rather inferred from a person’s actions and the facts. The term is most commonly encountered in the context of US drunk driving laws. When you sign your drivers license you have agreed to take these tests upon request. Refusal to take any of the tests will result in an immediate suspension for one year. A second refusal will result in an 18 month suspension.
In the state of Florida, a driver can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) for one of two reasons. A driver who is driving as though impaired and has alcohol or drugs in his or her system can be arrested for a Florida DUI. It does not matter how much alcohol or drugs are in a driver’s system for this type of arrest (source).
Drivers can also be booked for a Florida DUI based on their blood or breath alcohol levels (BAL). A Florida driver’s blood alcohol must be lower than .08%. Any BAL test that comes back as .08% or above is considered a DUI, even if the driver’s actions did not appear to be impaired.
DUI Arrests in Florida
If a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI in Florida, you will be asked to submit to a breath or urine test. You have the right to refuse this test. However, if you do, your guilt will be assumed and you will be arrested.
A Florida DUI arrest results in two separate cases. You will be tried in a traditional court case and you will also face a Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles case. At the time of your arrest you will be given a 10-day permit to drive. After these 10 days, your license will be suspended for 30 days. You need to secure a lawyer and file all of the paperwork for the two cases during this 10-day permit time. This way you can apply for a hardship license as quickly as possible.
Basic Consequences for First Time Offenders
If you are facing your first Florida DUI and you had a BAL less than .20%, here are the consequences you face:
- Between $250 and $500 in fines
- 50 hours of community service
- Up to 6 months in jail
- 10 days of vehicle impoundment
- DUI education requirement
- Ignition interlock on vehicle
- If your BAL was .20% or higher, you face the above penalties, with these increased amounts:
- Between $500 and $1000 in fines
- Up to 9 months in jail
Some of these penalties can be waved or replaced if a significant hardship on you or your family can be proven in court. For example, if your vehicle is the only mode of transportation for your family, you may not have to have it impounded for the 10 days. Subsequent offenses face stricter penalties.
License Suspension for Florida DUI
Besides the previously mentioned consequences, a Florida DUI conviction will also cause you to lose your license. Periods of license revocation are as follows:
- First offense – 180 days to 1 year of suspension
- Second offense – at least 5 years of suspension
- Third offense – at least 10 years of suspension
- Fourth offense – Permanent revocation
Florida law allows you to apply for a hardship reinstatement that will allow you to drive to and from work after you have completed your DUI education requirement. Fourth offenders cannot apply for hardship reinstatement. In order for you to get a florida dui hardship license, you should enroll in and complete a DUI course at your local facility. However, not everyone who has been convicted of DUI in Florida is automatically eligible for a hardship license. It will depend on the previous number of DUI charges, your submission record of BAC breath test along with other factors. If your Florida driver’s license was suspended by DMV, then the hardship license will allow you to drive in limited distances.
Before you can get your license back or apply for a hardship license, you will have to have proof of vehicle insurance. This is difficult to attain because many car insurance companies will not grant you a policy after being convicted of a Florida DUI. Your existing insurance company may even drop your policy when they learn of your arrest. If you can get a policy, you can expect to pay a high price for it.
Zero Tolerance for Drivers under 21
Florida has a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that any driver under 21 that is stopped by law enforcement and has a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have their Florida drivers license suspended for 6 months. The .02 limit really means that you cannot have a single drink and drive. And that’s the idea.
For drivers over 21 the legal limit in Florida is .08. Regardless of your age be aware that drinking and driving is considered a serious offense. Below we have summarized the penalties in the state of Florida for a first offense DUI, but the average cost including legal defense, fines, and auto insurance increases is $8000.
For more information about Florida DUI consequences and ways to avoid them, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in your area.
West Palm Beach DUI/DWI Attorney
The most important thing in DUI/DWI cases is early intervention by your attorney. This preliminary involvement will help you avoid the consequences of a conviction, which are very serious in Florida. We will also represent you at your hearing before the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles in order to protect your right to drive.
In addition to DUI/DWI charges, we represent clients in DUI accident cases, including:
- Leaving the scene of accident with severe bodily injury
- DUI/DWI severe bodily injury
- DUI/DWI homicide
- DUI/DWI manslaughter
There are defenses in DUI accident cases, which an experienced and capable lawyer can use. Even if you made a statement to police during your arrest, our lawyers can usually get that evidence thrown out of court. Any statement you give officers cannot be used against you due to the Florida accident report privilege.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170. Se habla español.