Self-Driving Cars and Florida DUI Laws

by Aaron Delgado
01/04/19 (Updated: 02/08/19)

Self-driving cars, also called autonomous vehicles, are still so new that federal and state driving laws have not caught up to them. Yet instances of Tesla drivers falling asleep at the wheel and being accused of drunk driving are growing more and more common. So who is at fault: the self-driving car, the company that made the car, or the human providing little to no input on the journey?

Someday, the gray areas of law surrounding this issue will be restructured. But for now, they remain as fuzzy as a drunk driver’s vision. This is largely due to the fact that we are still years away from fully-automated vehicles. In spite of all that, self-driving cars are rising rapidly in popularity, due largely to the significant safety benefits they bring.

Safety Benefits of Self-Driving Cars for Drunk Drivers

DUI Stats Infographic

Future DUI Laws for Self-Driving Vehicles

New laws addressing the issues with autonomous vehicles and driver accountability will have to account for any type of situation. For example, if the operator of a fully autonomous vehicle has the opportunity to start driving while they’re under the influence, the car’s ability to drive itself may be disregarded. On the other hand, if a self-driving vehicle safely arrives at a DUI checkpoint, does the driver necessarily need to be sober beyond their ability to speak with police?

Self-Driving Cars in 2019

Currently, even the mere possibility of a situation where a self-driving car needs the driver to take over or perform any key maneuvers leaves room for the human inside to be responsible for driving. If a vehicle that is not fully autonomous is in an accident, speeding, or violates another area of law, its human driver may find themself being accused of various crimes, including DUI.

Florida DUI Laws

Florida DUI laws should be taken very seriously. Depending on your driving history and the circumstances of your case, a DUI conviction may result in:

  • Substantial Fines
  • Vehicle Restriction
  • License Suspension
  • Community Service
  • Probation
  • Jail Time

If you have a professional license, such as a CDL or pilot’s license, that may be in jeopardy regardless of an actual conviction. An experienced DUI attorney can help you take the necessary steps to protect your professional license before and after a DUI conviction.

In order to be found guilty of DUI in Florida, your blood alcohol content (BAC) must be 0.08 or higher. Factors such as a BAC of 0.15 or higher, or a minor in the vehicle, will qualify you for enhanced penalties. Florida DUI laws allow the state to keep a DUI conviction on your record for up to 75 years, with no potential for expungement. Following a conviction, there are other collateral consequences of DUI to be aware of as well.

A Skilled DUI Lawyer Can Help

In this evolving area of law, you will need a DUI attorney to get the best possible outcome for your case. At Delgado & Romanik, we have the knowledge, skills, and experience to find any point of law that will help your DUI defense. Our team of DUI lawyers includes Firm Partner Aaron Delgado, who is a Board Certified Expert in Criminal Trial Law, including DUI defense.

If you or a loved one have been charged with driving an autonomous vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, call our office immediately at 386.222.6677 to schedule an appointment with a skilled DUI attorney. In a free consultation, we will review the details of your case and see how we may be able to help you overcome your DUI charge.

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