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FLORIDA DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE LAW
If you are caught driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, the penalties can be severe. Under Florida law, a DUI offense occurs when a driver operates or is found in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired or with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher.
Blood alcohol levels are measured by administering a breath test on an Intoxilyzer machine or by taking a urine or blood sample. While first time offenders are generally permitted to refuse to a breath, blood or urine test, additional administrative consequences with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, can result from refusing the test.
Your driver’s license will be immediately suspended and your refusal to submit to testing can be used in court as evidence against you. If you refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test a second time, you will be charged with an additional criminal charge of refusal.
Driver’s License Suspension
When you are arrested for driving under the influence in Florida, your driver’s license may be suspended. If this is your first DUI offense and your blood alcohol level was measured at .08 percent or higher, your license will be suspended for six months. In the event that you refused to submit to a breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for one year.
If this is not your first refusal of lawful blood, breath or urine test, the penalties will be more severe. For those who refused a prior lawful breath, blood or urine test, your license will be suspended for 18 months, and an additional misdemeanor charge of “refusal” will be brought against you.
It is possible to preserve your driver’s license. Contact a lawyer for more information regarding the administrative process to help preserve your driving privilege.
Act Quickly! - Florida 10 Day Rule
If you have been arrested for a DUI, you will need to take action quickly. Under Florida law, you have the option to challenge your license suspension by requesting an administrative review hearing. Alternatively, you may choose to waive your right to the review hearing but request the immediate issuance of a Business Purpose Only (BPO) license.
If you are issued a BPO license you will only be permitted to drive in order to maintain your livelihood (this would include driving for work, educational, church or medical reasons). In the event that you have been convicted of a previous DUI or have had an earlier DUI license suspension, you will not be eligible for the “fast track” to a BPO license.
You will need to challenge your license suspension with the Bureau of Administrative Reviews.
Regardless of which option you choose, you only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to take action. There are certain procedures that need to be followed no matter which option you decide is best for you.
DUI Fines, Penalties and Imprisonment
If you are convicted of a DUI in Florida, the penalties and fines can be harsh. If this is your first conviction the fine will generally range from $500 to $1,000. In the event that your blood alcohol level is measured at .15% or higher, or a minor was in your vehicle, the fine will increase to $1,000-$2,000.
The fine ranges for repeat offenders are higher and depend upon the number of prior DUI convictions. Additionally, DUI fines may be increased substantially if you are in an accident involving property damage, injury or death of another person while you are driving under the influence.
Will I go to jail for my DUI case?
In addition to fines, if you are convicted of a DUI you may be subject to other penalties, including imprisonment. First time offenders can be sentenced to jail for a period of six to nine months depending upon their blood alcohol levels.
Jail periods increase for repeat offenders and if the DUI driver is involved in an accident that causes property damage or injuries to another person.
If you kill someone while driving under the influence you could face up to 15 years in prison. If you leave the scene of a deadly accident you can be convicted of a first-degree felony and subject to a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
Contact The Skilled DUI Attorneys at Soler & Simon
A DUI conviction can have serious and long-lasting effects upon your life. If you are dealing with a DUI arrest, you should discuss your situation with a lawyer who is familiar with Florida’s DUI laws as soon as possible. When you contact our firm, our experienced attorneys will review your case in confidence and help you to determine the best course of action.