What State Has The Toughest DUI Laws?
What You Need to Know and How a Lawyer Can Help You
Almost every day, about 29 people die in the United States from a motor vehicle crash involving an impaired driver. With these staggering statistics, it is still surprising that across the country, the laws vary significantly when it comes to dealing with this impaired driving issue. One aspect that remains the same across the nation is that each state defines driving under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration at no more than 0.08 percent as a crime—and some have or are considering lower BACs. However, the specific penalties differ greatly depending on the area, with Florida ranking among the states with some of the harshest penalties.
To have any success fighting a DUI charge, you need an experienced DUI lawyer helping you every step of the way. Read on to learn about DUI laws.
Florida’s Harsh DUI Laws
Florida forbids driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while having a BAC of 0.08 percent or more or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Florida defines “under the influence” as someone so impaired that his or her mental or physical abilities have been affected in a significant way. A BAC that exceeds the legal limit is generally sufficient evidence to establish intoxication.
Consequences of a DUI in Florida
The penalties in Florida for a DUI are generally determined by the defendant’s number of prior violations. However, the circumstances of the DUI and how recent the prior DUI offenses have occurred will also have a significant impact on the penalties that an individual may incur.
A first DUI offense can result in one year of probation, 50 hours of community service, and having your vehicle impounded for ten days. In addition, the offense may carry up to six months of jail time and include $500 to $1,000 in fines, and a conviction may also result in a license suspension of six months to a year. First-time offenders, however, are eligible to participate in a diversion program, which generally may help them avoid some of these consequences that usually result from a DUI conviction.
If the second DUI offense occurs within five years of the first DUI offense, then the individual will have to spend a mandatory ten days in jail and face a 30-day vehicle impoundment. Also, the offender’s driver’s license will be revoked for a period of five years, and he or she will have to pay between $1,000 to $2,000 in fines. A restricted license can allow individuals to continue to drive with certain conditions that specify exactly when or where they are permitted to drive. However, to be eligible for this option, the individual must enroll in a substance abuse education course.
If an individual receives a third DUI conviction within ten years of a prior DUI offense, then the individual will have to spend 30 days minimum in jail and have his or her driver’s license revoked for at least ten years. In addition, this offense may include fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 and carry a 90-day vehicle impoundment. However, after 24 months, the driver can petition for a restricted license, but must remain in a DUI supervision program.
- DUI accident that causes serious injury: Any individual who causes serious injury to another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is guilty of a third-degree felony. This may include four to five years in prison, a minimum three-year driver’s license revocation, and up to $5,000 in fines.
- DUI accident that causes damage to property: An individual driving under the influence who causes damage to someone’s property is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor and faces up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.
- DUI accident that causes death: An individual driving under the influence who causes someone else’s death is guilty of a second-degree felony and faces up to a $10,000 fine, four to 15 years of prison time, and a permanent driver’s license revocation.
Anyone convicted of DUI must enroll in a substance abuse course and complete a monthly reporting probation term. Failure to complete the course or any necessary treatment may result in a driver’s license revocation. In addition, a court can also require a driver to attend a sobriety and drug monitoring program, which may include monitoring and random testing.
How Can a Lawyer Help
Nobody is in favor of having an impaired driver on the road, and these laws are fundamental in keeping the public-at-large safe from deadly accidents. However, not every incident is so black and white, and at times, there is more involved with these DUI arrests than meets the eye.
That is why individuals who have been charged with driving under the influence need legal help to guide them through the complex legal process and the harsh penalties that may impact their daily lives and long-term goals. Indeed, hiring an attorney that has experience fighting DUI charges will provide defendants with the assistance that they need to maximize their results.
Your attorney should:
- Knows the laws: DUI defense attorneys are aware of the latest rules and information when it comes to DUI defense tactics. They know the latest requirements when it comes to blood tests, field sobriety laws, breath tests, and sobriety checkpoints, and these attorneys can identify if there are any issues in your case that may result in lesser charges or a dismissal of your case.
- Knows your options: An experienced DUI attorney will know what defenses are best for your situation. Whether it’s going to trial, negotiating a plea deal, or looking into specific programs that may help reduce your sentence, your attorney will always have your best interests in mind. These DUI attorneys not only recognize that individuals arrested on DUI charges want their questions answered and their options explained in a way that they can understand, but also that they are working with someone who’s committed to preserving the rights of the accused.
- Knows the players: One of the benefits of having an experienced DUI lawyer on your side is that he or she generally knows the individuals involved with your DUI prosecution. These relationships will help you when it comes to negotiating better plea bargains or determining which arguments appeal to particular courts and judges.
If you or a loved one were arrested for a DUI, make sure you reach out to an experienced DUI legal team that can provide you with the legal assistance and answers that you need.