A DUI arrest in Florida can potentially lead to financial burdens (fines, higher insurance rates, etc.), jail time, suspended license, and loss of employment opportunities.
Approximately 30,000 people are arrested for DUI in Florida each year. These people face a legal process that can be overwhelming and confusing. They may also face long-term effects from that arrest.
Below, we’ve provided answers to frequently asked questions about DUI arrests in Florida.
However, if you’re facing a DUI charge, Fusco Law Group can provide you with legal guidance. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Fusco Law Group at (904) 567-3113.
Frequently Asked Questions about DUI Arrests in Florida
What is considered a DUI in Florida?
Florida considers a person suspected of DUI (driving under the influence) to be in actual physical control of the vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical or controlled substance that impairs their normal faculties.
While Florida establishes a blood alcohol rate of 0.08 as a basis of impairment, just the suspicion of being under the influence of an impairing substance while in physical control of a vehicle can lead to a DUI arrest.
What is considered actual physical control of a vehicle in Florida?
The person sitting in the driver’s seat is considered in actual physical control of the vehicle. This is the person who has the capability to control the vehicle at the time a DUI suspicion is determined.
It’s important to understand that the vehicle does not have to be moving for a DUI arrest. A person suspected of being impaired, sitting in the driver’s seat with keys in the ignition may be charged with a DUI.
Also, given Florida’s broadly written DUI laws, a vehicle may be considered a bicycle or even a motorized wheelchair.
What do Florida police look for to suspect a drunk driver or impaired driving?
Florida police are trained to observe drivers for signs of driving under the influence. They watch for generally unsafe driving patterns that may include weaving in and out of traffic, swerving, wide turns, drifting, almost striking other vehicles, varying speed, driving too fast or too slow, and slow responses to traffic signals.
Once the DUI suspect is pulled over, the police officer will look for (and probably record) indicators of impairment such as bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech, fumbling for the license, registration, and insurance information, flush face, odors (alcohol and cover-up odors such as gum, breath mints).
Do you have to blow into a breathalyzer if pulled over for DUI in Florida?
Yes. Under Florida law, every person who operates a motor vehicle in the State of Florida has given their implied consent to a breath test.
However, you have the ability, but not the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. While every person who operates a motor vehicle in the State of Florida has given their implied consent to a breath test, you can never be physically forced to blow.
In Florida, police are required to read the State of Florida’s Implied Consent Warning to advise you of your rights to submit to a breathalyzer test. If you agree to the test, you may also consider requesting your own independent blood test. Doing so may be a benefit in your case. An experienced DUI attorney can provide you with additional guidance on this option.
Will my driver’s license be taken away if I refuse to blow into a breathalyzer?
There are penalties associated with refusing a breath test. For a first refusal, your driver’s license can be suspended for one (1) year. For a second or subsequent refusal, your driver’s license can be suspended for eighteen (18) months and you will be committing a misdemeanor of the 1st degree.
In many DUI prosecutions, a breath test is usually a prosecutor’s best evidence against you. That’s why it’s important to weigh the decision to blow into a breathalyzer. The guidance of an experienced DUI attorney can be valuable in making that decision.
What are the consequences of a DUI arrest and conviction in Florida?
If the breathalyzer showed .08 or more alcohol level, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license. If convicted of DUI, the court will order additional driver’s license suspensions.
In Florida, a first time DUI conviction may also lead to fines and paying for court costs, mandatory attendance to DUI School, 1 year supervised probation, 50 hours of community service, and up to 6 months in jail.
A DUI conviction may lead to other consequences in a person’s life. Auto insurance rates may substantially increase or, the insurance company may deny coverage overall. Employment background checks may influence an employer’s decision to hire a person with a DUI in their records.
Get the Legal Help You Need
A DUI charge can be frightening and the legal process confusing and overwhelming. In complex legal situations, you should have experienced legal representation by your side.
Contact the Fusco Law Group: (904) 567-3113 for a free consultation.