Anyone who has experience behind the wheel understands the importance of ensuring that everyone remains safe. This includes the passengers in the vehicle as well as pedestrians walking along the sides of the road. Over the past few years, there has been a tremendous focus on the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and for good reason.
When compared to other countries, the United States has some of the most lenient DUI laws in terms of alcohol. Anyone found to be driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater could be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Under Florida DUI laws, a conviction could have severe ramifications on the individual's personal and professional life. Therefore, it is important for everyone to understand the state’s DUI laws and the penalties that they can carry.
Like other states in the country, someone is guilty of a DUI in Florida if they have a BAC of 0.08 or higher while they are operating a motor vehicle. (You can use our free BAC calculator to get an estimate of your personal blood alcohol concentration after different types and quantities of drinks.) The penalties for a DUI in the state of Florida will vary with each person’s prior record (or lack thereof) of DUIs.
First Offense: If someone is convicted of their first DUI offense, the judge has the leeway to assign a variety of penalties. These include up to six months in jail, fines of $500 to $1000, a license revocation of six months to a year, and a possible ignition interlock device (IID). The judge may also assign probation, community service, or even vehicle impoundment.
Second Offense: Should an individual be convicted of their second DUI (within five years), the penalties become more severe. The resulting jail time might be up to nine months and the financial penalties could be as high as $2,000. The license revocation will remain at six months to one year and the IID might be left in place for two years. In addition, more community service and an additional vehicle impoundment might be imposed.
Third Offense: The penalties for the third offense are even more serious. First of all, a third DUI conviction is typically considered a felony. Someone might be sentenced to a year in jail and the fines could rise as high as $5,000. Their license could again be revoked for an extended period of time and the vehicle IID might again be imposed.
With any DUI conviction, the judge might also require the individual to enroll in a probation program where they are required to report monthly. The individual may also be required to enroll in a substance abuse course to learn about the dangers of driving a vehicle while impaired. The judge can also require an individual to subject themselves to sobriety and drug monitoring. Clearly, the penalties are severe and extensive.
In addition to the penalties listed above, Florida also has enhanced DUI penalties that may be applied in certain situations. For example, if someone is found to have a BAC of 0.15 or higher, they may qualify for enhanced DUI penalties. Frequently, the punishment could result in a financial fine that is doubled, mandatory minimum jail time, a required ignition interlock device (IID), or a prolonged license suspension (even up to 10 years for a third conviction).
Someone convicted of a DUI under the enhanced penalties might have trouble driving to work, which could make it difficult to maintain a job. The financial penalties can also make it difficult for someone to make ends meet and support their family. Fortunately, although someone might think that their case is difficult to win due to an elevated BAC reading, there are options available.
People might be wondering how they can defend themselves against an elevated blood alcohol concentration measurement. When someone has been charged with a DUI based on an elevated BAC reading, there can be many defense options available. Some of these involve answering:
Did the arresting officer watch the accused during the required 20 minutes prior to the breath test?
Have the breath test operator as well as the agency inspector involved in the case been properly certified? (Without the proper certifications, these individuals might not have performed their job properly.)
The State of Florida currently requires the use of the Intoxilyzer 8000 breathalyzer device. Was this specific device properly maintained and certified? (Failure to maintain these devices can result in faulty readings.)
There are additional circumstances that can contribute to an elevated BAC reading and a faulty DUI conviction. It is crucial for everyone to have the strongest possible defense against these charges. This is where an experienced attorney is essential.
Clearly, a conviction under Florida DUI laws could carry many severe penalties. It is critical for everyone to have a strong defense if they are facing potential DUI Charges in the state of Florida. With this in mind, make sure to hire an experienced DUI attorney. A caring and determined attorney will investigate the circumstances of the arrest and charges fully, ensuring that you will have the strongest defense possible. A conviction for a DUI can be life-changing. It is critical to hire a trained legal professional to represent you and your interests. Call a DUI attorney in Daytona Beach today to learn more.