DUI Laws in Florida

Just like the rest of the country, Florida takes drinking and driving offenses very seriously, and imposes harsh penalties even for first-time convictions. Both the DMV and the courts penalize drivers regardless of their age. A DUI conviction in Florida also has many additional consequences that can last up to a lifetime.

Florida Law on Teens and Alcohol
The legal drinking age in Florida is 21 years. Anyone under that age is prohibited legally from purchasing or possessing alcohol. A first-time offense is regarded as a 2nd-degree offense, which comes with penalties including up to 60 days jail time and a fine of up to $500. A further offense is considered a 1st-degree offense that can be punished by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

However, it’s rather odd that Florida law permits a person over the age of 18 to taste the alcohol, provided it is part of the individual’s curriculum as a student from an accredited college. It’s also illegal to possess or use a fake ID, and based on how the ID has been tampered with; the crime could escalate from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Additionally, when a driver who’s under the legal drinking age is pulled over, and their blood alcohol content (BAC) happens to be .02 or higher, the zero-tolerance law of Florida applies, and the driver will have to forfeit his or her license for six months.

Adult Liability for Teen Drinking
Some states allow parents to let their underage children drink alcohol, but only under parental supervision at home. However, this isn’t the case in Florida. When you know that a young person in a social gathering is in possession or consuming alcohol and you fail to take reasonable steps to stop or prevent it, you’ll be in violation of law even if the person is your child. The only exception for this is if the alcohol is used as part of a religious observance that’s legally protected.

If you’re charged with this, you potentially face jail time or a substantial fine. If an underage child takes alcohol from your home and then injures themselves or someone else, you might also face criminal liability, and even civil liability for any harm or damage caused.

The Legal BAC is Different for Minors and Adults
The BAC determines whether a driver is legally intoxicated. Aside from the standard road test lie walking in a straight line, a driver who’s suspected of a DUI offense will be asked to take some chemical tests, such a breathalyzer test. As mentioned earlier, the legal BAC for minors (people under the age of 21) is much lower that that of adults.

Many factors such as physical condition, weight, how long since the last meal, and medications affect how quickly an individual shows the effects of drinking. Generally speaking, the less a person weighs, the faster they’re likely to become impaired. In Florida, you can be convicted of DUI when your BAC exceeds:

• 0.02% for people under 21 years of age. This means a single beer could push most teens over the legal limit.

• 0.08% for adults

• 0.04% for commercial drivers

The official penalties for the 1st time DUI conviction include:

• 50 hours of community service

• A fine ranging from $500 to $1,000

• Revoking the driver’s license for up to 1 year

• An ignition interlock device installed in your car

• DUI school

• Jail and probation for up to 1 year

• The vehicle is impounded for ten days

• In case a person is killed, you may face up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

• If you leave an accident scene after death, the prison time could increase to 30 years

Everything You Should Know About Aggravated DUIs In Florida

If a person drives his/her vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is described as a DUI or Driving Under the Influence. These substances can impair a person’s ability to drive. DUIs most probably result in injury, death, and jail time. In fact, if you want to avoid these outcomes and the loss of your driving privileges in Florida, you should not drive when you are under the influence of liquor or drugs. The legal limit of blood alcohol content is usually 08% in Florida. If your BAC limits are above this range, you will be charged DUI in Florida. In fact, Florida DUI laws are quite strict. A DUI offense is considered a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, hiring a DUI Defense Attorney is recommended. Here is everything you should know about aggravated DUIs in Florida.

If any aggravated factors are present in your DUI case, it constitutes to an aggravated DUI. It is also known as an Extreme DUI or a Felony DUI. An aggravated DUI in Florida is known as a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Hence, an aggravated DUI in Florida carries more penalties compared to a DUI. Here are some aggravate factors that appear in Florida state law.

Kids present in your vehicle is a serious issue if you have been pulled over for DUI in Florida. If you have kids in your car or you are pulled over in a school zone for a DUI offense, it constitutes to an aggravated DUI in Florida. On the other hand, if you are pulled over for a DUI in Florida with a suspended or revoked license, it constitutes an aggravated DUI in Florida. It shows your complete disregard for the law. The penalties would increase when you are pulled over for such offenses. These cases result in aggravated DUIs.

Fatally or seriously injuring another individual is a cause for aggravated DUIs. That is why you should steer clear of drinking and driving in Florida. Excessive speeding and reckless driving can increase your DUI charge. In fact, if you drive thirty miles per hour or more than the speed limit in the area, it is considered excessive speeding. Reckless driving is described as the willful disregard for the safety of the other drivers on the road. On the other hand, driving the wrong way on a one-way street or driving on the wrong side are considered reckless acts. Ignoring traffic signs are also included in this category. All these tantamount to aggravated DUI in Florida.

Not only the presence of aggravating factors but the penalties also differ in an aggravated DUI in Florida. In a DUI case, the fine is between $250 to $500 while an aggravated DUI has a fine of $2,000-$5,000. The probation for a DUI is one-year the maximum. But the probation for an aggravated DUI is five years the maximum. On the other hand, the prison sentence for a DUI is 6 months while an aggravated DUI has a prison sentence of five years the maximum. A DUI can get your license revoked for a minimum of 180 days while an aggravated DUI can get it revoked for a lifetime. Your vehicle will be impounded for 10 days for a DUI charge while it will be impounded for 90 days during an aggravated DUI. You will have to go to a DUI school for 12 hours in a DUI case. If you are charged with an aggravated DUI, you should go to a DUI school for 21 hours. These are some of the most important facts that you should know about aggravated DUIs in Florida.

Is it possible for a client to win a DUI jury trial

About a year ago, I had the great pleasure of representing a client who actually worked for the Department of Defense, and he was an aerospace engineer. He truly was a rocket scientist. And this gentleman, unfortunately, was driving on the 91 freeway during construction time, and he struck a Jersey wall. The CHP arrived at the scene of the accident, my client’s vehicle was severely damaged, and when they spoke to my client, he told them he hadn’t drank any alcohol. Unfortunately, that was not true. Ultimately, he was arrested. A chemical test came back showing him to be a 0.11. He hired our office, because his entire career was on the line. He was told by his supervisors, even though he was well-liked and very well respected, that if he suffered a DUI conviction he would lose his job, a very high paying job, and more importantly, a very rewarding job for him. We tried for months and months and months to negotiate a resolution with the district attorney’s office in Riverside County, that would allow our clients to keep his job. Ultimately the district attorney rejected all our offers to resolve this case.

We tried that case for– it was a misdemeanor DUI trial, in Riverside County– for seven days, presenting expert testimony, where we used the art of psychodynamics to put the jury into the exact position that our client was facing, going through a road construction area, late At night, an area unfamiliar to him, scraping the side walls of a K-rail, and ultimately being contacted by the police. We were successful to put them into the position of our client, with a rising blood alcohol defense. And ultimately, the client was found not guilty. I’m Joe Mitchell, a criminal defense attorney with AAMA Law Group. If you or a loved one are in trouble and need help, call us

Things cops can’t make you do at DUI checkpoint

As a DUI defense attorney, one question I get from people all the time is, can I refuse a DUI checkpoint? And the answer is if you actually drive up to the front of a checkpoint where the officers are stopping motorists, then you have to stop and roll down your window and provide your license and registration and proof of insurance. But there are several key things that you do not have to do at a DUI checkpoint. First of all, you do not have to answer any questions about where you’re coming from, or whether you’ve been drinking, or how much you drank.

Secondly, you do not have to perform the field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg stand test or the walk and turn test. Thirdly, you do not have to take the pre-arrest handheld breathalyzer called the PAS test, that is, unless you are on DUI probation or you’re under 21. Moreover, the police cannot even order you out of your vehicle unless they have reason to believe that you’ve been drinking. But the key thing that most people don’t realize is that you can turn around before you get to the checkpoint. There’s no law that says that it’s illegal to turn around in order to avoid a DUI checkpoint. And in fact, doing so does not give the police probable cause to detain you, as long as you don’t commit any traffic violations in the course of turning around, such as an illegal U-turn or failure to signal. And in fact, I turn around before I reach DUI checkpoints all the time, not because I’ve been drinking, but because I don’t want to sit in that line. So the upshot is this. If you’re approaching a DUI checkpoint and you have been drinking and you have the opportunity to turn around and go the other way legally and safely, then you should do so.

But if you do get detained, remember that you don’t have to do anything other than provide your identification.