The effects of drinking and driving are well understood. Alcohol decreases a person’s ability to make split-second decisions behind the wheel. By impairing one’s reflexes and slowing down reaction time, it makes it difficult to respond to sudden changes in traffic. Having too much alcohol in one’s system can reduce concentration and induce drowsiness. It can also affect one’s ability to make sound judgments. All of these effects increase the risk of causing an accident, which is why DUI laws across the country aim to keep inebriated drivers off the roads.
All states impose a legal limit of 0.08% for the everyday driver who is of age to drink; however, not all states penalize a DUI the same way. A first-time DUI is generally a misdemeanor offense, but the consequences you can face if you are convicted varies depending on the state in which you are arrested. Florida has been identified as one of the worst states in which to receive a DUI conviction.
Harsh DUI Penalties for Florida Drivers
In 2015, drunk drivers caused 29% of motor vehicle fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On average, 10,000 people die each year due to DUI. Looking at the bigger picture, drunk driving fatalities have plummeted 57% from 1982 to 2014. Suspecting that the reduction in fatalities might have something to do with harsher DUI sentences, WalletHub conducted a study to evaluate DUI penalties across the country. The study concluded that Florida is the 17th strictest state for DUI enforcement.
The data collected included information on fines and minimum jail time to ignition interlock device installation requirements. Florida ranked 24th for “criminal penalties” and 5th for “prevention.” There is no minimum jail time for a first-time DUI offense in Florida; however, a second DUI offense mandates a minimum of ten days in jail. A third-time DUI is a felony offense. Additionally, judges can consider DUIs from up to ten years ago when convicting and sentencing DUI offenders.
Other things to consider before a night of drinking is that a Florida driver’s car insurance could increase 86% after a first DUI citation. A DUI offender will likely be required to undergo an alcohol and substance abuse program, driver’s education, conduct community service, and other administrative penalties. Florida allows for sobriety checkpoints.
A DUI offender will not have an easy time in Florida, especially without the help of an experienced DUI lawyer to resolve his case. If you have been arrested for DUI in West Palm Beach, Brian Gabriel is the attorney you deserve to represent you. He has over 30 years of experience providing competent DUI defense. Call 561-622-5575 for a free case review or email us.