Each day, Americans spend an average of one hour behind the wheel, according to Fatherly.com. That is an average of six percent of a person’s waking hours. We drive to get to work, on road trips, while running errands, and for many other reasons.
Most days we get home just as we left it, but when driving is done under the influence or intoxicated, the outcome could be very different. In 2018, there were 814 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the state of Florida, which is 26% of the total U.S. fatalities linked to people driving under the influence.
There is no question that driving while intoxicated is dangerous, not only for the person driving in such a state, but for pedestrians, other drivers, and civilians in general. The National Highway and Safety Administration states that one out of 135 people will be arrested for driving under the influence each year. The laws that lead to these arrests are put in place to deter such dangerous behavior.
In Florida, as a preventive and punitive measure, people can get a DUI charge. But what is that exactly?
What do DUI and DWI mean?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence”, while DWI stands for “driving while Intoxicated”. In some states, DWI relates to alcohol consumption and DUI consumption of alcohol or drugs, whether they are prescribed or illegal.
However, in Florida the official term for either is DUI. In this state, a person is breaking the law when he or she is operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more. Something to consider is that if the blood-alcohol level is 0.15 or higher, the consequences or penalties may be harsher.
Despite the blood test being the most used, to determine the amount of alcohol and drugs in someone´s system, if an officer suspects drugged driving, they may administer a DUI test for drugs, which involves a small oral test stick that is rubbed on the person´s tongue. The results show positive or negative for drugs, and if positive, there is a second sampling and possible subsequent chemical tests, like urine drug analysis.
Is DUI expungement possible?
If you were charged with a DUI, you may be asking yourself whether you can get your record “clean” or not. This process of erasing someone´s record is called expungement, and in the state of Florida, the law prohibits the expungement of DUI convictions.
Although expungement is not possible, you can lessen the charges by challenging the evidence leveled against you or seeking a different charge. However, this must be done by a professional and experienced attorney.
DUI charges can be avoided firstly by not drinking and driving, and keeping your BAC (blood-alcohol content) far below the maximum legal limit, which can be measured if you have a personal alcohol breath tester. But if you are drinking or are under the influence of any drug, you can always use a ridesharing app to avoid accidents and a possible DUI charge.
If you or someone close to you is facing DUI charges, it is advisable that you get in contact with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Rusell Spatz has years of experience and is open to hearing your case. Call (305) 442-0200 today to get the help you need.