What is a DUI?

A DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is a criminal charge of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or another substance that can compromise your normal driving abilities.  Although the criteria for DUI vary between jurisdictions, all states in the United States have DUI laws on the books.

In Florida, if you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer and found to have a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .08 or greater, you will be arrested for DUI.  .08 BAC indicates that there is .08% or more alcohol in your blood stream, which is the legal limit allowed for operating a motor vehicle in Florida.

DUI is usually synonymous with alcohol, or drunk driving.  However, DUI or similar charges can be issued for any number of potentially impairing substances, such as marijuana, ecstasy, prescription medications and other controlled substances.

DUI is also typically associated with the operation of a car or truck, however can more broadly apply in instances where an impaired individual is found operating a motorcycle, boat, certain machinery and, in some jurisdictions, a bicycle (sometimes known as a BUI).

Florida DUI’s typically involve two separate actions.  The first is the criminal charge, which will require the defendant to appear in criminal court and issue a plea.  The second action occurs with the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which will move to suspend the defendant’s driver’s license.  Florida has instated an Implied Consent Law, which stipulates that it is understood that all holders of Florida driver’s licenses have consented to a chemical test if they are suspected of DUI.  In the event that the defendant refuses a chemical BAC test, the DMV will automatically revoke the defendant’s driver’s license unless the defendant actively seeks to dispute their license suspension.

DUI offenses come coupled with graduated penalties that increase with each subsequent DUI incurred.  In Florida, an individual’s first DUI conviction necessitates 180 days to a year-long revocation of the driver’s license.  The court may also mandate a maximum 6-month period of incarceration and a fine between $500-$1,000.  Second offenses warrant mandatory 10 days jail time, and up to 9 months, as well as a fine of up to $2,000 and a license suspension of 5 years.  The penalties continue to increase with each subsequent DUI assessed.
Collateral penalties may be enforced as well, including community service, mandatory treatment classes or the installation of an ignition interlock device into the defendant’s vehicle.

Posted in: DUI