Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Apr 23, 2019

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The DUI laws (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol) in Florida have been designed to deal with Florida’s exploding population and the subsequent rise in traffic crimes of all types.

In the last two decades, Florida’s population has surged, causing the usual problems seen with rapidly expanding populations: more traffic than the roads can handle, and a spike in driving offenses.

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Florida recognizes that one of the most dangerous of driving offenses is driving under the influence. DUI can easily cause death and injury, and is completely preventable.

Therefore, Florida’s DUI laws have been designed to discourage drinking and driving behavior by imposing stiff penalties.

There were 34,638 DUI convictions in Florida in 2006, a decrease of 8% from the previous year. Hillsborough County, which contains the city of Tampa, had the highest level of DUI convictions—over 4,000, compared to around 1,000 in the Miami-Dade area.

Rural areas have fewer convictions than metropolitan areas.

Florida operates under the “Implied Consent” law

This means that when you apply for and are issued a driver’s license in Florida, one of the things you agree to is to submit to any breath, blood, or urine tests if you are stopped and a police officer suspects that you have been drinking or doing drugs.

Refusal to take these tests results in an immediate one-year suspension of your driver’s license. A second incident and refusal results in an eighteen-month suspension.

ZERO Tolerance

Florida also has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone under 21 found to be driving while drinking. A blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02 or higher will result in a six-month suspension of the driver’s license.

This is to enforce the law that those under 21 are not legally allowed to drink; it is also for the protection of teens, who are the most likely group to drink and drive, often out of fear of letting any family or friends know they have been drinking.

A BAC of .02 is so small that almost any alcoholic beverage will cause the teen to show positive.

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Blood Alcohol Levels, Commercial Drivers and Fines

For those over 21, the BAC limit is .08. For commercial drivers, the limit drops to .04. If a driver is over this limit, the fine will usually range between $250 and $500, depending on the location, and a mandatory 50-hour community service requirement.

The person can also be subject to not more than 6 months of imprisonment, and not more than 1 year of probation.

If there is a minor in the car with the driver, the prison sentence can be up to 9 months. The driver’s license must be revoked for a minimum of 180 days, and the driver must attend DUI school for at least 12 hours.

What happens with a Second DUI in Florida?

A second conviction, or a BAC of .15 or higher, brings much more serious consequences. A second DUI within ten years of the first will cost $1,000-$2,000 and can carry up to 12 months of imprisonment if a minor is in the car.

There is a mandatory imprisonment of ten days with a second DUI conviction.

What about a Third DUI Conviction?

The third conviction within ten years will cost $2,000 to $5,000 in fines. If a minor is in the car or the BAC is more than .15, the fines must be a minimum of $4,000. The third conviction requires a mandatory 30-day incarceration period, and the driver may be incarcerated up to 12 months.

Further, any person convicted of three or more DUIs in a ten-year period can be found guilty as a habitual offender, which is a felony charge, and may be fined up to $5,000 or sentenced to up to 5 years in prison.

The fourth DUI conviction can result in permanent revocation of the driver’s license.

Florida has been one of the first states to experiment with a new technology known as an “ignition interlock system.” This requires the driver to blow into a dashboard interface which measures the BAC.

If it is too high, the car will not start. By voluntarily installing this system, the state is allowing some drivers to regain their licenses after suspension or revocation. There are both proponents and detractors of the system.

Detractors state that the system puts repeat offenders back on the road, and benefits the vendors who charge a monthly fee to monitor the systems. Supporters state that many people continue to drive on suspended licenses, feeling they have nothing to lose.

The system may well cause some of them to become aware of their BAC and stop them from driving impulsively.

No matter where you live auto insurance after a DUI is never cheap so you need to shop around and compare auto insurance companies.

Enter your ZIP code above and compare auto insurance quotes online.

How much is auto insurance after a DUI?

Related posts:

  1. Georgia DUI Laws
  2. California DUI Laws