DUI Laws in the state of Florida

DUI Laws in Florida

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What happens when you get convicted for a DUI in Florida?

In the state of Florida, a driver is said to violate the DUI law when he/she is caught operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .8% or more. Florida law treats driving under the influence of alcohol or violation of the DUI law as a very serious offense. 

The offense is generally proved by impairment of normal faculties i.e the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies, etc or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. 

Getting convicted for a DUI violation in the state of Florida will have following consequences:

  • Being arrested and getting bail: 

If you get arrested for DUI in the state of Florida, you can expect to have to defend against both the DMV’s attempt to suspend your driver’s license and against criminal charges brought by prosecutors. The consequences for a conviction on these charges depend on several factors, such as whether you have a prior DUI offense or offenses on your record.

Majority of the people who get arrested, can obtain bail within a few hours after the arrest. First time offenders need not post bail in cases that include zero damage to property or people. 

  • License Suspension and applying for restricted license: 

A DUI arrest will likely result in your driving license being suspended for a specific time period. The suspension period of your license depends on several factors such as: 

    • Your BAC levels
    • The number of prior offenses committed 
    • Property damage/injuries caused

If your license gets suspended, you can apply for a restricted license after a first offense DUI. This means you could drive legally to and from work and to and from a treatment program. To be eligible for a restricted license you must meet the following criteria: 

    • Be older than 21 years
    • Agree to complete a chemical test
    • Cause no bodily harm under your accident 
    • Enroll in a first offender alcohol program
    • Pay reassurance fees to the DMV 
    • Provide proof of insurance to the DMV

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Florida DUI Laws

The following are the different types of DUI laws that aid in convicting individuals for different types of violations that he/she might commit while driving under the influence in the state of Florida: 

  • Felony DUIs in Florida

If an individual gets charged with a third DUI violation in a time span of 10 years of a prior DUI conviction, it can be charged as a felony. If a subsequent fourth DUI violation occurs, then it is charged as a felony regardless of when the previous one occurred. Please note that a DUI can be charged as a felony if the violation results in serious bodily injury or the death of another person.

  • Underage DUI Laws in Florida: 

In the state of Florida, individuals under the age of 21 are prohibited from driving while  having a BAC of .02% or more. A first offence will result in a 6 month license suspension and a second offence will result in the license suspension for at least 12 months. 

If the individual’s BAC is .05% or more, he/she will also have to complete a DUI education program prior to license reinstatement.

  • Implied Consent Law in Florida:

Florida’s Implied consent law states that individuals that are arrested under a DUI violation have to mandatorily get tested for their blood/breath/urine to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs.

The law also states that individuals who refused to get tested face either one or more the following charges: 

    1. 1 year license suspension.
    2. 18-month revocation for any subsequent refusal.
    3. Fine of $1,000

       

Florida DUI Conviction Penalties: 

The penalties for a DUI offence in the state of Florida are as follows: 

Offence Count 

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Fine

$500-$1,000

$1,000-$2,000

$2,000-$5,000

License Suspension 

180-365 Days 

180-365 Days 

180-365 Days 

Jail Sentence 

180 Days 

270 Days 

365 Days 

IDD Requirements 

6 Months ( If BAC is more than .15% ) 

24 Months 

24 Months

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Collateral DUI Penalties: 

If you get convicted of DUI, you will mostly have to pay a significantly higher amount of premium on your auto insurance. There will also be some kind of  driving restrictions which will result in suspension of your license. You  have to pay a hefty penalty to reinstate your suspended license. 

Applying for a DUI restricted license in Florida

The state of Florida grants a restricted driving license to an individual whose driving license gets revoked for a DUI conviction or chemical test refusal. Please note that once your driving privileges get partially reinstated, you will be required to drive with an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) and often enrol in a substance abuse course or DUI supervision program.

Florida DUI charges plea negotiations

Certain DUI violations such as manslaughter, having prior DUI charges on your drivers record, having a BAC of .15% or more are not eligible for sentence reductions by state law. 

But other types of eligible offences can be accepted for a DUI diversion/to be pled down to a “wet reckless charge”  i.e the defendant and prosecution reach an agreement whereby the defendant ends up pleading guilty/no contest to some criminal charge, to avoid certain penalties and repercussions.

FR44 Florida: 

In Florida, if your license is suspended for any moving violations or you are convicted of a more serious driving-related offence then The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will likely need you to obtain an FR44 from a licensed auto insurance company to get your license reinstated.

FR44 Insurance in Florida certifies that you have the minimum state-required car insurance coverage to drive on the road.

Summary

The most suitable way to avoid getting charged with  a DUI violation or having to pay hefty DUI fines is to abstain yourself from driving when you are under the influence of alcohol. But that might not necessarily happen as mistakes are bound to take place – statistics have shown more than 40,000 Florida drivers per year get charged with a DUI violation on average.

We at SR22InsuranceNow aim to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information regarding Florida DUI laws so that you can take the right decision if a certain situation arises.

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