Driving Under the Influence ("DUI") criminal cases in Florida are complex and vary due to the specific allegations and charges. It is essential to understand Florida's DUI laws as they pertain to the arrest, the criminal trial, and driving privileges. The following are a few lesser-known facts about Florida DUI cases. If you or a family member have been charged with a DUI in Miami or anywhere in the state of Florida, call us 24/7 at (888) 484-5057. to discuss your case and to protect your legal rights.
1. You could be over the legal limit without knowing it.
Florida's legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08. After one or two alcoholic beverages, it might be difficult to know if you are legal to drive or not. If a police officer has a reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver is intoxicated, and a chemical test shows the driver's BAC is above the legal limit. In that case, the officer will place the driver under arrest for DUI.
2. Refusing to submit to a drug or alcohol test will cause your driver's license to be automatically suspended.
According to Florida Statute Section § 316.1932, your driver's license will is automatically suspended should you refuse to take an alcohol or drug test during the course of a legal DUI arrest. The amount of time that your license will be suspended depends on your background. For example, a first-time offender who refuses a drug or alcohol test in Florida results in a one-year driver's license suspension. Should you have a prior chemical test refusal with suspension on your record and refuse to submit to another test, your Florida driver's license will be suspended for 18 months. Moreover, you could also receive a misdemeanor charge for the subsequent refusal.
3. If you hold a Florida driver's license, you have already consented to an alcohol or drug test.
Florida Statute § 316.1932 requires Florida residents who drive a vehicle in Florida to give their implied consent to controlled substance and alcohol and testing in a DUI investigation. Under Florida law, when you obtain a driver's license in Florida, you automatically give the state of Florida your implied consent to be tested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol when you are the subject of a legal stop along any Florida roadway. Even if you or your loved one do not have a Florida driver's license, Florida law states that the offender has automatically consented to alcohol or drug testing when someone becomes the subject of a lawful DUI arrest. Chemical tests include breath tests, blood tests, and urine tests.
Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, and a man who weighs 200 pounds can surpass a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 after four drink alcoholic beverages. A woman weighing 170 pounds can easily surpass a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 after two to three alcoholic drinks. Also, a person's blood alcohol content (BAC) will be lower if more time has passed between drinks.
4. A driver could be charged with a DUI even if their car isn't in motion.
According to Florida DUI laws, a person's vehicle does not have to be in motion or running for the officer to be arrested and charged with DUI. Florida law states that you may be charged with a DUI if you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or while driving a vehicle or if you were found in "actual physical control" of your vehicle while intoxicated.
For several years, attorneys have argued over what it means to be in actual physical control of a vehicle in DUI proceedings in Florida. The tries to determine if you had the ability to drive the motor vehicle or determines that you were driving the vehicle recently and while intoxicated. Police officers, lawyers, and judges will consider the location of the car, the placement of the keys, and the condition of the motor vehicle when determining "actual physical control" and DUI.
According to Florida law, if a police officer finds you sleeping in your car and while the vehicle is turned off, and the car's keys were found in the ignition, it is likely that the court will determine that you have actual physical control of the motor vehicle. However, a police officer witnesses you asleep in the back seat, the vehicle is turned off, the keys are not in the car's ignition, the car is turned off, and the vehicle's keys are not inside or near the car, then you would not have "actual physical control" over the vehicle.
5. DUI convictions do not have to include a jail sentence.
Generally, individuals who are found guilty of Driving Under the Influence are facing jail time as a punishment in a Florida DUI case. However, serving time in jail it is not always mandatory. With an experienced Florida DUI attorney, a person who has been received their first DUI conviction, the presiding Florida judge could be pursuaded to not order the defendant to serve any jail time during sentencing. Any subsequent convictions for DUI within a specified period of time will carry a jail sentence. For example, if a driver is convicted on a DUI charge without criminal enhancements, and the driver has a prior DUI conviction within five years of the current charge, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is 10 days. If an individual has been convicted of a DUI charge and has two prior DUI convictions inside of 10 years, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is 30 days. Your DUI defense lawyer should fight hard to take jail time off the table during any pre-trial negotiaitions. However, it becomes increasing difficult when the driver is a repeat offender.
6. You can avoid DUI criminal charges in Florida.
It is very simple to avoid DUI charges in Florida by driving sober, or by using a taxi or ride-share service, or by having a sober, designated driver. Ride-sharing services are only a few taps on your cellphone and is an easy way to ensure that you have a safe ride home.
If you or a member of your family have been arrested and charged with a DUI in Miami or anywhere in the state of Florida, our experienced DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law are here to help. Contact our law office today for your free case review by calling (888) 484-5057. We answer the phone 24/7.