The spring break crowd in Ft. Lauderdale in 2017 was one of the biggest – and rowdiest – crowds the city has seen in a long time. Police received numerous calls regarding public intoxication, drugs, fighting, and other disorderly conduct and in response, the city has spent the past year enacting stricter rules for the beaches and State Road A1A. With spring break 2018 quickly approaching, it is important to recognize Florida’s strict laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI) and the potential penalties of a DUI conviction in the Sunshine State.
Legal Limit for Driving
Like every other state, the presumed limit for impaired driving is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). If you are over 0.08 percent, you can be presumed to be intoxicated for the purposes of a DUI case and the prosecutor need not present additional evidence of intoxication. A BAC over the legal limit is demonstrated by a breathalyzer test, a blood test, or both.
Many people believe that if their BAC is below 0.08 percent, they will not be convicted of DUI. However, this is not the case, as you can still be convicted of DUI if a prosecutor can demonstrate that your faculties were impaired while you were driving. Some people feel – and show – the effects of alcohol below 0.08 percent and a prosecutor can use police observations and performance on field sobriety tests as evidence of intoxication in these cases.
In addition, many spring breakers are not yet 21 years old. The legal limit for underage drivers is 0.02 percent – which can be reached with even a couple of sips of alcohol. Therefore, Florida basically has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drivers and you can be charged with DUI even if your BAC is relatively low and you are not impaired. Remember, you can still be charged with a DUI even if the BAC is low and you don’t feel impaired.
Penalties for DUI Convictions
There are a variety of penalties you face after an arrest for DUI in Fort Lauderdale. First, you will likely spend several hours in jail until you sober up. Then, if you are charged with DUI, a conviction can mean the following:
- Fines up to $1000 plus court costs
- Probation for up to a year
- Up to six months in jail
- 50 hours of community service
- Suspension of your driver’s license for at least 180 days
- Attendance at DUI education classes
The right defense attorney can work to limit the penalties applied in your case or to have your charges dropped completely. Even if you are only in town for a short period of time, a DUI arrest can happen and can affect your life. It is important to have qualified DUI defense representation in every case in Fort Lauderdale.
Call a Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Lawyer for Help Today
The DUI defense attorneys at Meldon Law represent clients facing criminal charges in and around the Ft. Lauderdale area – including spring break visitors. If you would like to discuss a DUI arrest or charge, please call 954-334-1276 or contact us online for a free consultation today.