Drinking and driving has continued to cause devastation across not only Florida, but also the entire country. Despite the fact that countless organizations and prevention groups continue to try to educate the public, particularly impressionable children as well as young adults and adults, there continues to be instances of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Florida alone sees over 5,000 alcohol or drug-related car accidents every year. For this reason, the penalties for driving under the influence in Florida are high, and you may need to contact a Tampa DUI lawyer, a Fort Lauderdale drunk driving attorney, or another DUI lawyer in your area if you’ve been arrested for a suspected DUI.
Below, we go into further detail about what the consequences are for drunk driving in Florida and other penalties you could be facing if you are found guilty.
Consequences for a DUI in Florida
It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle of any kind when your blood alcohol levels are at or greater than 0.08 percent. This is the equivalent of as few as two alcoholic beverages depending on your weight and gender. It is also against the law to be in possession of an open alcoholic beverage while operating a vehicle.
The severity of your consequences will be largely based on whether you are a first-time or repeat drunk driving offender, as well as how high your blood alcohol levels were. Blood alcohol levels exceeding 0.15 percent are considered “aggravated”.
Let’s assume you are a first-time offender with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. You could expect to spend as much as six months in jail, have your license suspended for a maximum of one year, potentially be ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID), and pay fines of up to $1,000.
Alternatively, if you were to be considered a repeat offender, with multiple offenses within 10 years, you could be facing felony DUI charges which are punishable by a maximum of 5 years in jail, a minimum 10 year license suspension, be required to install an IID for as much as two years, and be ordered to pay fines of up to $5,000.
Other Ramifications when you Drive Drunk
In addition to the previously mentioned penalties, there are other consequences you will likely need to deal with if you are convicted of a DUI in florida, some of which include:
- Embarrassing yourself or your family
- Being unable to secure federal student loans
- Be unable to find gainful employment
- Have your car insurance rates skyrocket