About a third of all United States traffic crash deaths involve drunk drivers with blood alcohol levels of .08 g/dL or higher, although lower blood alcohol levels can impair driving and cause accidents as well. Under Florida Statute 316.193, a person is guilty of the offense of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol when driving is affected to the extent that physical faculties are impaired and the impaired driver has a blood alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; and the driver has a breath-alcohol of .08 ore more grams of alcohol  per 210 liters of breath. Florida Law Enforcement Officers issued 43,899 tickets for driving under the influence (DUI) in 2017 according to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles.  Over half of those resulted in convictions in Florida courts.  DUI offenses and underage drinking and driving are very serious matters in the State of Florida resulting in the Zero Tolerance Policy for drivers younger than 21.

Florida Zero Tolerance Policy for DUI.

The Zero Tolerance law 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 driver’s license suspended for 6 months. The .02 limit really means that you cannot have a single drink and drive. And that’s the idea.  The average costs of a DUI including legal defense, fines and increases in auto insurance are approximately $8,000.  First time offenders caught with a blow of .02 or higher will have their license suspended for six months. If it is a second or subsequent offense, then the suspension is 1 year. If you are under 21 and you refuse to submit to the breath test the first suspension is one year. If you are under 21 and you refuse to submit a second or subsequent time the suspension is 18 months.

First Time DUI Offenses May Result in Penalties Such As:

  • Fine – $500 to $1000 (blood alcohol level of .15 or higher or minor in vehicle)
  • Community Service – 50 Hours
  • Probation – Not more than 1 Year
  • Imprisonment – Not more than 6 Months
  • Imprisonment with BAL of .08 or higher with a minor in the vehicle, not more than 9 months
  • License Revocation – Minimum of 180 days
  • DUI School – 12 Hours

Penalties for a first DUI conviction in Florida increase dramatically if BAL (Blood Alcohol Level is .15 or higher or if a minor is in the vehicle). In these cases an Ignition Interlock Device may be installed for at least 6 continuous months.

Additional DUI Convictions.

Each additional DUI conviction will cause increased penalties in Florida. Complete details on Florida DUI penalties can be found in the Florida Driver’s Manual.

  1. 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;
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Hire an Attorney.

Driving under the influence is a serious infraction of the law with dire consequences to a person’s livelihood.  Hiring a knowledgeable experienced criminal law attorney is imperative for successful navigation of your charges in order to yield the best outcome.  Call the Law Office of Gabriela C. Novo, P.A. for a free consultation regarding your DUI arrest.

Attorney Gabriela C. Novo, P.A.

200 S.E. 6th Street
Suite 102
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301

Office(954) 523-4100

Cell(954) 822-5198

Fax: (954) 208-0278

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.193.html