WFTV News recently reported that a Marion County man is facing eight charges, including being charged with DUI after he allegedly attempted to elude authorities in a chase. Authorities and the video evidence obtained afterward indicate that the reportedly intoxicated man swerved, drove into the opposite lanes of traffic, almost rolled over, and ran through stop signs before ultimately being stopped by a K9 dog after the use of stop sticks pushed him off the road.
What is the Law for Drinking and Driving in Florida?
While drinking alcohol is legal if you are over the age of 21, obviously drunk driving is not. Additionally, the determination of whether you are driving illegally after drinking has no correlation with whether your driving abilities are actually impaired. Under Florida Statute 316.193, it is illegal to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher, period. Most importantly, whatever justifications or arguments you would attempt to make to authorities are irrelevant. Your blood alcohol level, or BAC, is enough by itself for one to be charged with DUI. However, if evidence of your BAC is not available, for example, your refuse a breath test, the state may still proceed by attempting to show through evidence (Field Sobriety Test, poor or dangerous driving, etc.) and testimony, that your normal faculties were impaired.
Do I Have to Actually be Driving to be Charged With DUI?
Interestingly, no. Because Florida law makes it illegal to be in physical control of a vehicle while impaired, you can be charged with DUI while your vehicle is stationary. Notably, this means that even if you pull over to the side of the road to nap and sober up thinking you are being responsible, you can still be charged with DUI. The state would argue, even though the car was not moving when you were contacted by the police, the car was movable; operational or able to be driven. This is especially true when your keys are still in the ignition and you are in the driver’s seat of a vehicle that is registered to you.
What are the Potential Penalties after being Charged with DUI?
Anyone who chooses to drink and drive in the State of Florida faces strict drunk driving laws and significant penalties including steep fines, the loss of a driving license, untold social and employment implications and limitations, and even imprisonment. Therefore, you should understand that if you choose to drink and drive in Florida, you are also choosing to risk your freedom, finances, and future.
An Innocent Night of Drinking can Ruin Your Life
Maybe you were out celebrating a promotion or helping a friend party before his or her upcoming nuptials. Fortunately, we can help regardless of the reason for you were charged with DUI, whether it is your first or 15th offense. The Ocala and Gainesville criminal defense attorneys Alavi, Bird & Pozzuto will aggressively fight on your behalf at trial or at the negotiation table. You get the best of both worlds: big firm benefits with small firm attention from our team of experienced Trial Attorneys and professional staff. We are the legal team you want on your side. Start building your defense strategy today by contacting our office immediately .