Pinellas County Area DUI Headline.
In nearby Tampa, a driver was arrested and charged with DUI Manslaughter, vehicular homicide and DUI property damage. This is one of many serious headlines showcasing the dangers of drinking and driving. Florida lawmakers take driving under the influence of alcohol seriously and impose stiff penalties for causing injury, damage and death to unsuspecting people who are sharing the roadways with those who are impaired by their choice to get behind the wheel of a car. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2016 data, each day alcohol-impaired drivers cause 29 people in the United States to die in a motor vehicle accident, and the costs related to alcohol-related crashes exceeded $44 Billion Dollars in lost productivity, workplace losses, legal expenses, emergency costs, medical costs, property damage, insurance claims administration, and roadway congestion. Clearwater is located in Pinellas County where statistics from 2016 revealed there were 340 crashes, 21 fatalities, and 189 injuries occurring from impaired driving due to alcohol.
Florida DUI Law.
Florida Statute 316.193 addresses the laws against driving under the influence in Florida, and outlines penalties for those driving when physical faculties are impaired, and:
- The impaired drive has a blood alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood;
- The person has a breath-alcohol of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
If a conviction for Driving Under the Influence is achieved, penalties could include:
- First Conviction Offense: Fines of $500-1,000 for first conviction; $1,000-2,000 for second conviction; and prison for no more than 6 months for first conviction; no more than 9 months for second conviction;
- Second Conviction Offense: After a second conviction, it is mandated that the driver, through their own expense, have an ignition interlock device approved by the state, installed on all vehicles individually or jointly owned or leased and operated by the convicted person when the convicted person qualifies for a permanent or restricted driver’s license;
- Third Conviction Offense: If a person is convicted of a third violation within ten years after a prior conviction it will be considered a felony of the third degree; if convicted of a third violation after ten years from the prior convictions, punishment will be a fine of $2,000 to $5,000 and prison time of not more than 12 months, and a mandatory ignition interlock device for 2 years.
- Fourth or More Convictions: If convicted of a fourth or more violation, it is considered a felony of the third degree and punishable with a fine not less than $2,000; and placement of an ignition interlock device for at least six months.
Negative Impact on Life.
DUI convictions can cause issues in your life, like not being able to drive yourself to work, the grocery store, the doctor’s office or take your kids to school due to a suspended license, the inability to keep reasonable car insurance, and in some cases, it may affect your present and future employment in careers such as health professions for example: if you are a nurse, a single DUI can have serious effect on your license sometimes involving probation with specific terms and conditions including mandatory random alcohol screening and AA meeting attendance if you want to keep your career; if you are a doctor, a single felony DUI or more than one misdemeanor charge can land you with formal discipline from Florida State Licensing Board to continue to practice medicine, and sometimes may affect approved provider status. This is one example where a career path could be negatively impacted, there are others.
If you are charged with drinking and driving in Florida, it is essential to seek the expert advice and counsel of a Clearwater attorney at the Law Office of Carol A. Lawson, who will work to get the best outcome for your particular situation.
Carol Lawson Esq.
28870 US Hwy 19 N Suite 300
Clearwater, FL 33761
Phone: (727) 410-2705