FORT WALTON BEACH, FL (December 12, 2019) – As reported in an online news article published by www.wkrg.com, a 23-year-old Florida woman is facing drunk driving (DUI) and child neglect charges after she allegedly drove with blood-alcohol levels of .361 and .354, according to breath samples taken after the incident.
The Florida woman's blood-alcohol levels equate to more than four times the legal limit of .08. Officers pulled the woman over around 9:00 p.m. for driving without headlights on. Given the woman's behavior, officers performed blood-alcohol testing which revealed the woman was driving drunk. Two passengers in the vehicle were a 3-month-old baby and a 6-month-old baby. After being medically cleared, the woman was transported to jail.
Driving Intoxicated with a Child Passenger in Florida
Florida laws are very strict when drunk driving charges involve child passengers, who are individuals under the age of 18. The penalties for driving under the influence are substantially enhanced under Florida Statute Section 316.193(4). A conviction of driving under the influence with a child passenger results in the following harsh penalties:
- A fine between $1,000 and $2,000 for a first conviction;
- A fine between $2,000 and $4,000 for a second conviction;
- A fine of at least $4,000 for a third or subsequent conviction;
- Jail time of up to 9 months for a first conviction; and
- Jail time of up to 12 months for a second conviction.
In addition to hefty fines and jail time, individuals convicted of driving under the influence with a child passenger must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles at their own expense. The Department of Revenue must approve the devices. The device must be installed for no less than six continuous months for a first DUI offense, and no less than two continuous years for a second DUI offense. These individuals must qualify for a permanent or restricted license.
All individuals convicted of driving under the influence with child passengers will be placed on monthly reporting probation and complete a substance abuse course conducted by a DUI program licensed by the Department of Revenue. The program must include a psychosocial evaluation. If a DUI program refers an individual to an authorized substance abuse treatment provider for treatment, completion of any treatment/evaluation/education program is a condition of reporting probation.
If a person fails to comply with all probation requirements and the requirements of the DUI program (such as completing treatment), the DUI program will notify the court and the Department of Revenue. Upon receipt of such information, the person will lose his or her driving privileges. In some cases, a person's driving privileges may be temporarily reinstated on a restricted basis as long as the DUI program confirms the individual is participating in treatment and a DUI education course as well as undergoing an evaluation.
Probation after a first offense lasts for a period not to exceed one year, and while on probation, the convicted individual must participate in public service or community work for a minimum of 50 hours. For second or subsequent offenses, the penalties become much harsher, requiring immediate jail time and the impoundment or immobilization of the individual's vehicle.