We’re Approaching Drunk Driving Season In Sarasota Florida

When the weather gets warmer, a certain relaxed atmosphere settles in Florida. In areas like Venice especially, tourists come to town to enjoy beaches, nightlife, and the historic downtown. While people gather and enjoy another spring and summer season in Florida, local roadways become more dangerous. Spring and summer bring the highest DUI rates in the United States compared to any other time of year, and Florida is no exception.

Intoxicated Driving In Florida

In a 2018 survey, the CDC found that the 1.7% American adults admitted to driving after drinking too much in the past 30 days, but this number rose to 2.0% for Florida. With higher DUI rates than the national average, motorists are more likely to come into contact with an intoxicated driver on Florida roadways than in other states.

What does it mean to drive intoxicated in Florida? According to Florida law, anyone with a BAC, or blood alcohol concentration, of 0.08 grams per 100mL of blood is considered to be under the influence. On a breath test, it’s any driver with an alcohol level of 0.08 grams per 210 liters of breath.

Additionally, a person is considered to be under the influence if their normal faculties are found to be impaired. This is a subjective standard that can allow law enforcement to make the call if a driver seems impaired even if their BAC is considered to be under the legal limit. This impaired faculties standard is used less often in cases of alcohol intoxication and more often when other substances are suspected to be involved.

Intoxicated Driving Penalties In Florida

Florida lays out harsh penalties for motorists who drive under the influence throughout the state. For a first conviction, a driver can face a fine between $500-100 along with up to 6 months imprisonment. If the driver’s BAC is above 0.15 or a minor is in the vehicle, the fine goes up to $1,000-2000 with up to 9 months imprisonment.

A second conviction comes with higher fines, longer potential sentences, and the installment of an interlock ignition device on all vehicles for a period of up to 1 year. Like with a first-time offense, those with a BAC of 0.15 or higher will face harsher penalties.

A third conviction within 10 years of a second conviction becomes a felony charge, but if it’s been more than 10 years a driver will face the same penalties as a second conviction. All fourth convictions are considered felonies. Felony convictions come with mandatory imprisonment.

Protecting Yourself From Intoxicated Drivers In Florida This Spring And Summer

In 2018, more than 32,000 adults were arrested for intoxicated driving in the state of Florida. While a small decrease was seen in 2020 and 2021, DUI numbers jumped right back up to the state average for 2022. What does this mean? It means that it’s crucial to learn how to safely navigate local roadways where you may come into contact with a motorist suspected to be intoxicated and driving erratically.

The best thing Florida motorists can do is to recognize erratic driving, give the motorist space, drive defensively, and contact local law enforcement. With the make and model of the vehicle, and the area you’re traveling, law enforcement can be notified to investigate the driver and remove them from the roadway before they cause an accident.

Not all intoxicated drivers get caught before causing an accident. DUI accidents can be serious and devastating, but those injured and their families have rights. To learn more about what your rights are after an accident with an intoxicated driver in Florida, contact us at JusticePays.com.

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