In Florida, there are DUI laws and penalties put in place to discourage you from driving under the influence.
But what exactly are these Florida DUI laws?
And what are the penalties?
Today, we’ll tell you everything you should know about the DUI laws in Florida. We’ll look at:
- The DUI laws in the state
- The penalties for breaking these laws
- What type of crime is a DUI
- Are drugs also considered a DUI
- How long does DUI stay on your record
- How many points is a DUI
Let’s get started!
DUI Laws in Florida
According to the Official Florida Driver Handbook, a DUI is when you are…
“found to be driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, prescriptions, or over-the-counter medications.”
Now, to identify if you are under the influence, a blood, urine, or breath test must be taken. These tests are mandatory — you agreed to submit to them when you got your driver’s license.
When you take the test, it will show the level of blood alcohol content (BAC) in your system.
It is considered driving under the influence if your BAC reaches:
- .08% or higher for drivers 21 years old and above
- .02% or higher for drivers below 21 years old
- .04% or higher for drivers holding a CDL
As you’ll notice, the BAC requirement is much lower for minors. This is mainly to discourage any form of DUI among underage drivers.
The penalties are severe for underage DUI. The State of Florida follows a Zero-Tolerance Policy.
What does that mean?
A Zero-Tolerance Policy means that you will receive harsh penalties for a DUI (even if it’s just your first offense).
Penalties for DUI in Florida
As we said, the state follows a Zero-Tolerance Policy for underage DUI.
So if you are under 21 years old, here are the penalties for every DUI offense made:
- First offense: driver’s license suspension for 6 months
- Succeeding offenses: driver’s license suspension for 1 year
- Refusal to take a blood, urine, or breath test: license suspension for 1 year
- Succeeding refusals to take a DUI test: license suspension for 18 months
Again, remember that you are an underage DUI if you have a BAC of .02% and above.
Say your BAC is 0.05% or higher. Well, your license will be suspended for 6 months and you will be required to take a substance abuse course.
What if you are above 21 years old? Though the BAC level is higher, the penalties are a lot harsher.
Here are the penalties:
- First offense: a fine of $500 and above but not more than $1000 for 0.08% BAC. If your BAC is 0.15%+ or if you have a minor in the vehicle, you are charged $1000 – $2000
- Second offense: a fine of $1000 and above but not more than $2000. If your BAC is 0.15%+ or if you have a minor in the vehicle, you are charged $2000 – $4000
- Third offense: a fine of $2000 and above but not more than $5000. If your BAC is 0.15%+ or if you have a minor in the vehicle, you are charged at least $4000
- Fourth and subsequent convictions: a fine of at least $2000. If your BAC is 0.15%+ or you have a minor in the vehicle, you are charged at least $4000
The court may also sentence you to imprisonment or require you to a take residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program.
Note: underage DUI will face these penalties if they have a BAC level of 0.15%+.
What Type of Crime is DUI in Florida?
If there are no accidents or serious injuries during a DUI, it will be classified as a misdemeanor.
A misdemeanor is considered a crime punishable with imprisonment for less than a year. And as you’ve seen in the previous section, the court may decide to give imprisonment penalties.
However, if you caused an accident and injuries, or if you are charged with your third DUI, then it is already considered a felony.
And as you might expect, felony offenses have even more severe penalties, such as vehicle impoundment, license revocation, long jail time, and very high fees.
Is Drugged Driving a DUI in Florida?
Yes, drugged driving is considered a DUI in Florida. This is based on the definition of DUI in the Florida Driver Handbook.
Remember, DUI stands for driving under the influence.
Drugged driving impairs your ability to drive in a focused and alert way. In turn, this makes it dangerous to you and others on the road.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Florida?
A DUI conviction stays on your FL driving record for 75 years. Unlike other states where these convictions only stay for a decade, Florida has made it almost impossible to get these convictions removed.
However, you can always plead to a lesser conviction to the court. If the conviction is reduced, it may be removed from your driving record, depending on the new conviction.
How Many Points is a DUI in Florida?
What’s unique about DUI convictions in Florida is that there are no points added to your driving record. These stay on your driving record not as points but as violations or misdemeanors.
That said, you will receive 4 points if your DUI leads to reckless driving, accidents, and serious injuries.
So that is everything you should know about the Florida DUI laws this 2023.
To discourage people from driving under the influence, Florida is strict with its DUI laws. Here, you will face harsh penalties depending on your age, the number of DUI convictions, and the severity of the charge.
If you want to avoid all those penalties…
Or more importantly, if you don’t want to put yourself, your passengers, and others in danger…
Then don’t drink and drive!
It’s as simple as that!
We hope that you consider all these laws, penalties, and other info about DUI in Florida and make sure you keep them.