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Are you buzzed? Labor Day Holiday DUI Safety

Millions of Americans are expected to travel by vehicle in Florida for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, this traveling, combined with the vigorous consumption of alcohol nationwide, means a large amount of drinking and driving. Holidays are often the most dangerous time to be on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the 2016 Labor Day holiday, 45% of crash fatalities in this country involved drivers who had been drinking.

From a legal perspective, receiving a citation for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) has very serious repercussions. Beyond the fact that your insurance premiums can triple, a first time DUI in Florida carries…

  • A maximum fine of $1,000, or $2,000 if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is above 0.15 (or if there was a minor in your vehicle).
  • Mandatory adjudication of guilt.
  • A year of probation.
  • Six months or nine months in jail. This depends on whether your BAC was above 0.15.
  • One-year suspension of your driver’s license.
  • Mandatory impoundment of your vehicle for ten days.
  • An interlock device placed in your vehicle for six months.
  • 50 hours of community service.
  • Completion of an approved DUI Counter Attack School.
  • Recommended treatment and a substance abuse evaluation.

For drivers with previous DUI convictions, the minimum and maximum penalties increase exponentially. For instance, a fourth DUI conviction can be charged as a felony and result in five years of incarceration.

So, consider this a friendly reminder to avoid drunk (or even buzzed) driving this holiday. Buzzed drivers, with a BAC below .08, can also be arrested and charged with a DUI depending on their driving pattern, their performance on field sobriety tests, and other factors (we’ve seen cases charged with a DUI at a low BAC of 0.027).

Know Your Rights

In addition, there are important rights that you must be aware of once arrested for a DUI. As soon as you receive your DUI citation, you have ten days to request a hearing on the administrative suspension of your driver’s license (or opt to immediately obtain a hardship license). You must also know that you have the right to decline a field sobriety test, a blood alcohol test (with license suspension consequences), and you have a constitutional right to remain silent. Also, it is important to know that your DUI charge causes two separate and concurring cases to be opened against you: the criminal DUI case and an administrative case with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. You’ll need someone to explain these complex and numerous options and rights to you. At Carmona Law, your first consult with an attorney is always free.

Whatever you have planned, from a backyard BBQ to a day at the beach, I hope you have a great Labor Day and stay safe, and if you are arrested for a DUI please know that your best bet is to call an experienced attorney immediately.

Sources:

  1. Florida Statute §316.193 – Driving Under the Influence
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Association https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/drive-sober

BAC: Blood Alcohol Concentration

DUI: Driving Under the Influence

About the author

Fabio Duran is a Senior Associate attorney at Carmona Law and is responsible for managing the criminal law department for the firm. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Florida and has represented hundreds of clients, including individuals from all over the Americas, Middle and Eastern Europe. He also represents clients on immigration, family matters, probate, civil litigation, contracts, foreclosures, and debt collections with successful results. He can be reached at duran@ocarmonalaw.com or 407.775.2727.