Driving under the influence (DUI) has some very serious consequences in the state of Florida. In 2017 alone, there were 43,899 DUI violation tickets issued in Florida, as well as 24,334 DUI convictions. In the United States, 29 people die daily due to drivers who are impaired by alcohol. This is equal to one death every 50 minutes. A DUI is also commonly called “driving while intoxicated” (DWI) or “operating under influence” (OUI). Whatever name it is referred to, it still has the same penalties and punishments. Keep reading for five things to know about Florida DUI arrests.
Field Sobriety Test
When you are pulled over by an officer who believes you are driving under the influence, you will be asked to perform a physical coordination test. This is also known as a field sobriety test. The test includes a one-leg stand, a heel-to-toe test, one-leg stand, a penlight test, and others. However, you have no legal obligation to perform a field sobriety test. Depending on your situation, politely tell the police officer that you were told to talk to your attorney before you agree to any.
Preliminary Breath Test
Next, the officer will either ask or order you to do a preliminary breath test (PBT). It is also known as a preliminary alcohol screening test (PAS). The PBT is a portable handheld machine. It is used to determine the levels of alcohol in your body to determine whether or not you are driving under the influence. It is usually given at the roadside when you are pulled over. You blow into the PBT, and it will show your blood alcohol content (BAC) within a few minutes. Like the field sobriety test, you are under no legal obligation to take the PBT test. Depending on your situation, you can politely refuse to take the PBT by telling the officer you must contact your lawyer.
Blood Alcohol Limits for a DUI
Florida has drunk driving laws in place that prohibit anyone with a BAC of .08% or higher from operating any type of vehicle. Having a .08% BAC constitutes someone as an “impaired driver.” However, the limit decreases to .04% for drivers of commercial vehicles and .02% if you are. If you are a driver under the legal drinking age of 21. It is very easy to be classified as legally intoxicated, even if you don’t feel it. Your best bet is to avoid driving if you know you will be going somewhere where you will drink. It is possible to get a DUI for using drugs/narcotics. You will be asked to take a urine test to check for the presence of drugs.
Appearing in Court
When you are arrested, you will be given a ticket with a court date. At this court date, you will face charges for driving under the influence. Typically, if you try to plead not guilty and deny the charges of driving under the influence, there is a chance they will show a dashboard camera video of you taking the field sobriety test, or be shown proof of your BAC from the preliminary breath test.
Are DUIs a Criminal Offense?
In short, yes. Most DUIs in south Florida is classified as a misdemeanor. However, this depends on a certain situation. With most DUI cases, they will take into consideration any other DUI arrests/previous offenses you have committed. A DUI criminal offense may be increased if there are any injuries or deaths on your behalf at the time of your accident.
If you or a loved one are ever arrested for driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, The Berman Law Group can help you during this time. Contrary to what some may say, you can get a lawyer after a DUI. Our firm’s dedicated South Florida DUI defense attorneys are here for you and your case no matter how large it may seem. Call us today at (800) 375-5555 for a free consultation.