Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are one of the most common reasons why people in Florida get arrested and convicted. However, the commonality of DUI charges has done nothing to spread awareness about all the laws and rules surrounding them. If you have any questions about DUIs in Florida circling your head, you should browse this quick list of some DUI FAQs, answered by the Law Office of Kevin F. Moot. In case you have already run into trouble with the law, we encourage you to contact our Weston criminal defense and DUI defense attorney right away. We are available most evenings and weekends.
Answering Common DUI FAQs
What does it mean to be legally intoxicated in Florida?
Someone is considered “legally intoxicated” by Florida law when they drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle while their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level surpasses a legal limit. For an adult driver over 21 years of age, the legal BAC limit is 0.08. Adult commercial drivers have a BAC limit of only 0.04. A minor under 21 has a minimal BAC limit of just 0.02. Additionally, someone can be arrested for a DUI if they have any amount of a chemical, controlled, or narcotic substance in their bloodstream while driving.
Do I have to submit to a field sobriety test?
Highway patrol officers use field sobriety tests (FST) to try to determine if a driver is drunk. The problem is that an FST is always subjective, relying on the officer’s discretion and not scientific methods. Since FSTs are unreliable, you can refuse to take any FST that is not mandatory without immediate legal consequence. When an officer asks you to take an FST – like walking a straight line – you might want to ask if it is mandatory before complying.
What happens if I refuse to take a chemical test to analyze my BAC level?
Unlike a field sobriety test, a chemical test to determine your BAC is almost-always mandatory. Refusing a mandatory test will automatically suspend your license for 12 to 18 months, even if you were entirely sober. Automatic suspensions are administrative penalties, which means a criminal defense attorney cannot challenge it in criminal court. It is worth noting that blood tests do require the police to first obtain a warrant.
Do DUI penalties increase each time I get convicted for one?
Yes, Florida does use an escalating DUI penalty system based on the number of previous DUI convictions on a driver’s record. The penalties tend to increase with longer driver’s license suspensions, extended jail sentences, and higher fines. The lookback period for a DUI varies between 5 and 10 years, depending on prior convictions.
What is an ignition interlock device (IID)?
Most second-time DUI or third-time DUI convictions – and even many first-time DUI convictions – in Florida will include the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on the driver’s steering column. The driver must huff a breath into the IID that registers under a preset BAC limit before the vehicle can be started. People with IIDs in their cars also need to pay installation and removal fees, and also monthly taxes for it.
Can I still drive my car after getting a DUI?
People convicted of a DUI in Florida will have their driver’s license suspended, making it illegal to drive anywhere until it is reinstated. However, a DUI attorney might be able to argue on your behalf to receive a hardship license. For most hardship licenses, the license holder can only drive to and from work, but adding other destinations – like your children’s school or ex-spouse’s home – is negotiable with the help of your DUI lawyer.
Do I have to stop at police sobriety checkpoints?
The police may set up police sobriety checkpoints to catch drunk drivers in the act. This stop is mandatory for all drivers traveling along that road, even if they are entirely sober. The legality of sobriety checkpoints is routinely brought into question, so be sure to tell your Weston DUI attorney if your DUI arrest originated from one such stop.
How can I avoid a DUI?
The best way to avoid getting a DUI is simply to never drive while intoxicated. Choose a designated sober driver for any outings, hire an Uber or Lyft driver, or stay at the host’s house if you must. Driving drunk puts your life and everyone else’s in danger, and can also slam you with heavy consequences if you get convicted.
If you have any more questions about DUI laws in Florida, or if you want further explanations about the FAQs listed above, remember that you can always contact our Weston DUI lawyer for representation and assistance.