Drinking and driving is an offense some of us tend to take for granted until we get pulled over. What constitutes a DUI? According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety, it's when it is found that the operator of the vehicle is proven to be impaired beyond the legal limit, via breathalyzer, of a blood alcohol content (BOA) of 0.08 or greater. Knowing what makes you at risk for a DUI is important, to be sure, but what sort of charges are you facing?
Here are five things to consider when encountered with your first DUI.
1. The charges get progressively more unsavory every time that you commit the offense. Jail time, fines and fees, and the duration of your license suspension all increase.
2. Your first offense is no cake walk or picnic if found guilty. The charges you could be facing would go as follows:
- 6 to 9 months of prison time
- Fines from $500 to $2000
- 180 days to 1 year of license suspension
- An IID (interlocking ignition device) requirement
3. There is a blood alcohol requirement depending upon your age! If you're under the age of 21 you can be apprehended for a DUI a with BAC of just 0.02%.
4. There is a period of time in which prior DUI's can be looked at to determine your sentencing should it happen again! After your first offense the look back period is five years. If you have committed a DUI within those five years, your initial offense may be used against you, which isn't going to make your sentencing go lightly.
5. Be mindful that your penalties may increase if you're pulled over with a passenger under the age of 18 AND if your BAC is found to be higher than 0.15%.
Taking all of these facts into consideration, it is important to also remember that with adequate representation from an experienced DUI defense attorney, charges may be lessened or waived (depending upon severity). Also, seek assistance if you have been wrongfully apprehended or apprehended due to unlawfully obtained evidence (such as a blood test without a warrant). However, the best avoidance for DUI prosecution is don't drink and drive.
First-Offense DUI in Florida | DrivingLaws.org. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2016, from http://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/first-offense-dui-florida.htm
Florida DUI Laws, Penalties and Fines | DrivingLaws.org. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2016, from http://dui.drivinglaws.org/florida.php
Official Website Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2016, from http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/duilaws.html