Few things can get your insides twisted in a knot like getting in a DUI (driving under the influence). That one single event can have so many ramifications: In a best-case scenario, you get arrested, fined, your car insurance premium increases, you go to traffic school, and maybe spend a couple of months in jail.
In a worst-case scenario, you kill someone and deal with the associated guilt, in addition to a manslaughter charge and everything that comes along with it.
But what, exactly, would be enough alcohol for you to get a DUI?
DUI Basics | What You Need To Know About DUIs
In Florida, you’re considered driving under the influence if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. How many drinks that translates to depends on many factors: your age, gender, body weight, whether you consumed food while drinking, how fast you were drinking, your metabolism, alcohol tolerance, and whether you’re taking any medications.
So never assume that you’re safe to drive just because some of your friends had the same amount of drinks that you did and they feel fine.
What happens with a DUI First Offense?
In typical legal fashion, the answer to this question is: it depends. If you cause a car accident for driving drunk and you don’t cause serious bodily injury or kill someone in the process, Florida law establishes that you will be fined between $500 and $1,000 and could face up to 6 months in jail.
If the accident does result in serious bodily injury to another person, the driver will be charged with a felony in the third degree. This means that the person convicted with a DUI would face a fine of up to $5,000 and 5 years in prison.
If the accident results in the death of another person, the driver commits DUI manslaughter, which is a felony in the second degree. This means facing a fine of up to $10,000 and 15 years in prison.
Things can get even uglier than that. If the accident results in the death of a person and the driver fails to give information or render aid, the driver will be charged with a felony in the first degree. This means facing up to $10,000 in fines and up to 30 years in prison.
What happens with a second DUI?
The consequences get worse with each incident:
A person convicted of a DUI for the second time will be fined between $1,000 and $2,000 and face up to 9 months in jail. He or she will also have to pay for an ignition interlock device installed on all of their motor vehicles, whether owned or leased individually or jointly with another person.
A person convicted of a DUI for the third time within 10 years of the previous convictions will be charged with a felony in the third degree. This means facing up to $5,000 in fines and 5 years in prison.
If the third conviction happens after 10 years from the previous DUI arrests, they will face up to $5,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. They’ll also have to pay for the installment of an ignition interlock on any vehicles they own for at least two years.
A fourth DUI conviction will result in a fine of up to $5,000 and 5 years in prison.
All of these fines and imprisonment times are based on no serious bodily injury or death of a person. If these factors do occur, the results are more dire.
How to know if you’re safe to drive after drinking.
As you see, even on a best-case scenario, getting arrested for a DUI brings very serious consequences. Always have a designated driver. If all of your companions are going to be celebrating with beer or cocktails, then an Uber or Lyft driver. At the very least, carry a personal breathalyzer with you. Just be aware that even if you blow into it and the number that comes up is under the legal BAC, consider how you’re feeling. A 0.07 BAC may technically mean you’re not drunk, but if you are impaired enough to cause an accident, you’ll still have to deal with the related legal consequences.
Contact the DUI Attorneys at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins if You’ve Been Charged
A DUI comes with a list of ugly consequences. If you or someone you love has been involved in a DUI accident, give us a call. Every case is different and all related factors will come into play when a Court renders its determination.
At Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins PA, we have experienced criminal defense attorneys who can best design a strategy to help you. We know how to manage DUI cases.
Contact us, and let’s discuss your case.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended to be for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.