Florida DUI Laws

If you are arrested for DUI in Fort Lauderdale, chances are your charges fall somewhere within the purview of F.S. 316.193. This is the statutory provision that outlines the offense and penalties for those suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm know there are also relevant provisions in:

  • F.S. 322.27, which touches on license suspensions and revocations;
  • F.S. 322.61, which involves disqualification from operation of a commercial motor vehicle;
  • F.S. 322.2616, which involves under-21 DUI;
  • F.S. 316.1932, which involves implied consent of submission to breath-alcohol tests.

Each of these provisions imposes strict penalties for those found guilty. Some include mandatory minimum sentencings – including driver’s license suspension and a minimum period of incarceration.

Given the fact that a DUI conviction can follow you indefinitely, it’s imperative to explore all potential defenses and alternatives to incarceration. The Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm will work to help you identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and whether you may be able to avoid jail time.

Charges You Face in a Florida DUI

If you are arrested in Florida, chances are it involves one of these provisions:

  • Operating or being in control of a motor vehicle while your blood-alcohol concentration is at or above 0.08. This is part of F.S. 316.193. This is the per se limit at which you are considered legally impaired.
  • Operating or being in control of a motor vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol to the extent your normal faculties are impaired. Again, this is F.S. 316.193, and it does not require a finding that you had a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Instead, the court will present officer observations, field sobriety test results and other evidence to prove you were under the influence. This charge most commonly arises when you refuse to undergo a BAC.
  • Operating or being in control of a motor vehicle while you were under the influence of drugs. These do not have to be illegal street drugs. They could be prescription medications – even those you take lawfully and according to doctor’s orders. They could also be drugs you take over-the-counter.

For a first-time offense of any one of these, you will face up to six months in jail a fine of somewhere between $500 and $1,000.

There are some aggravating factors that could increase the amount of time you spend behind bars. For example:

  • If you had a minor in the vehicle with you, you could face up to nine months in jail, and a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000.
  • That same penalty applies if you are convicted of operating or being in control of a vehicle while your blood-alcohol concentration is 0.15 or higher.

Those with previous offenses on their record could face even higher penalties, including more jail time and even larger penalties.

You may also face charges under F.S. 316.193 if you are alleged to have caused a crash that resulted in serious injuries or death. If the crash caused serious injuries, you will face DUI causing serious injury, in which case you’ll be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. If you’re convicted of DUI manslaughter, you will be facing a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison for each death.

If you flee the scene of a fatal crash, you will face a minimum mandatory penalty of four years in prison, which is the same for DUI manslaughter. A person who flees the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury will face up to five years in prison and three years of license suspension under F.S. 316.027.

Administrative Penalties

In addition to the possibility of incarceration, you will also likely be facing administrative sanctions from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These sanctions too are outlined by law. These include:

Your driver’s license could be suspended for at least 180 days after your first DUI offense. Per F.S. 322.271, the suspension periods are longer when it involves a repeat offender.

A person with a BAC of 0.04 or higher who was driving a commercial vehicle will be suspended from driving any commercial vehicle, per the provisions of F.S. 322.61.

All this can seem overwhelming, but as our Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys can explain, you have certain rights under Florida law. You are considered innocent until proven guilty. You have the right not to answer questions from an officer, even if you are stopped. You have the right to present evidence to refute the prosecution’s case.

Numerous strong defenses can be used to cast doubt on your guilt – from rising BAC to faulty breathalyzer.

Contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney to learn more.

If you have been charged with DUI in Fort Lauderdale, call The Ansara Law Firm today for your free initial consultation at (954) 761-4011.