A Quick Introduction to DUI Laws in Florida
You would never set out to be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, but unfortunately mistakes happen – and you could potentially find yourself in that situation. What does it mean to be charged with multiple DUIs in Tampa, and how will it impact your finances, driving rights, and freedom? You can find your answers below.
The Definition of a DUI
A DUI charge does not just incorporate driving after drinking too much alcohol. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “Under Florida law, DUI is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven.” This means that a DUI can also be caused by drug use or any other substance that causes “impairment of normal faculties.”
Immediately After Your DUI
It is standard Florida law that you are arrested immediately after your DUI occurs. You are required to remain in jail until you are no longer under the influence and your normal faculties are no longer impaired. Your vehicle will also be impounded for at least ten days, or possibly up to 90 days if you’ve had any prior DUI charges. With the help of a skillful lawyer, it is possible to have the court dismiss this order of impoundment based on family need.
Fines and Imprisonment
You will not incur fines unless you are formally convicted of a DUI. If it is your first DUI conviction, you can expect a fine between $500 and $1,000, unless you had a minor in the vehicle or had a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher – in which case the fine will be between $1,000 and $2,000. Your fine will increase for a second, third, or subsequent conviction.
Imprisonment is also a major component of a DUI conviction. With your attorney’s help, the court may agree for any prison term to be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program. Florida law dictates that imprisonment for a first conviction lasts between six to nine months, and the imprisonment term increases for each subsequent conviction.
Losing Your License
Fines and imprisonment aren’t your only concerns after a DUI. You will also risk losing your valid driver’s license ten days after your DUI charge. If you submitted to a breathalyzer test and the results showed that your blood alcohol content (BAC) was higher than .08 percent, your license will be suspended for six months. If you refused the breathalyzer, your license is automatically subject to a one-year suspension. There are ways to fight this suspension, but they require the experienced and skilled guidance of a DUI attorney in Tampa.
Your best bet is to catch an Uber if you’ve been drinking, but when all else fails, find an experienced DUI attorney to advocate for your rights.