Driving while under the influence should always be avoided, but with a holiday like the Fourth of July coming up, it's good to be reminded about the dangers of drunk driving. Around the holidays, no matter how big or small the celebration is, party goers tend to consume a bit more alcohol than usual increasing the chances of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
What Happens When You Get A DUI
Under Florida law, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or an unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or above.
If you get pulled over while under the influence, you'll likely be arrested and taken to jail. You may be required to sober up completely before someone is able to post bail and get have you released. While dealing with the DUI, your driving privileges will likely be suspended. This length of time will depend on the outcome of your case.
Expect to pay a fine for the offense and possibly serve time in jail. The fine schedule is as follows according to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:
- First conviction: Not less than $500 or more than $1,000. But if blood/breath alcohol level (BAL) was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000.
- Second conviction: Not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000. But if BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $2,000 or more than $4,000.
- Third conviction: Not less than $2,000 or more than $5,000. But if BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $4,000.
- Fourth or subsequent conviction: Not less than $2,000. But if BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $4,000.
How To Avoid A DUI
If alcohol is part of your celebration, your best bet is to plan for transportation ahead of time. That may seem fairly obvious, but it's often overlooked in party plans. A single DUI can not only affect your future, but the lives of others as well.
Here are some options you can plan for:
- Ride-sharing apps have become very popular over the last few years with options like Uber and Lyft. While prices for these rides continue to increase, it's significantly less expensive than a DUI would be. There's always the option of using the pool feature to lessen the expense for those looking to stick to a budget, but also keep from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
- Consider planning ahead with a family member or a friend that's not drinking for the evening. That's always a safe way to be sure you have a sober designated driver.
- Get a hotel room or stay with the party host to avoid driving until you've sobered up. If you decide to sober up in your car, do not have your keys in the vehicle with you because even if the car is in park, you can be charged with a DUI based on the intention to drive.
- Leave your car keys at home or put them in a place you won't have access to.
Driving under the influence is completely avoidable. By getting behind the wheel after drinking you're putting your life and the lives of other in danger, and setting yourself up for a potential DUI charge.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, it's imperative that you seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Russell Spatz is standing by ready to take your case. With over 40 years of experience, Russell has handled numerous DUI cases and can help you with yours. Give him at call today at (305) 442-0200.
"Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws." Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, www.flhsmv.gov/driver-licenses-id-cards/education-courses/dui-and-iid/florida-dui-administrative-suspension-laws/.