5 Things You Should Know About DUIs
Driving while under the influence has been a major problem in Florida in recent years. Only 2 years ago, Mothers Against Drunk Driving reported that there have been 53,664 arrests with about 30,000 of those arrests resulting in a DUI conviction. Furthermore, of all traffic deaths in 2012, 29% resulted from drunk driving. With those numbers, it’s no surprise that the consequences for a DUI are pretty high. That being said, here are 5 things you should know about DUI’s and how they can affect you:
1. You can refuse to take a breathalyzer/chemical test in Florida…if you’re feeling brave: Florida has an implied consent law when it comes to these tests. That means that if you refuse these tests when pulled over, you may be subject to a fine. Additionally, your license is automatically suspended. Every time you rack up an offense in which you refuse to take the test, may result in higher penalties. For example, if you refuse to take a test on your first offense, your license is suspended for 1 year; refuse the test for a second offense, your license is suspended for 1 year and 6 months; the same is generally true for your third offense. While refusing a test can save you from the penalties of a DUI conviction/arrest, there is a cost-benefit analysis that should be carefully considered here, especially if having your license suspended could be troublesome.
2. There are 3 different BAC requirements for a DUI in Florida: Florida’s legislators saw the need to make DUI’s scarier for their young drivers and have therefore made it easier for young drivers to get convicted of a DUI than for drivers who are of legal drinking age. For example, for drivers under the age of 21, a BAC level (Blood Alcohol Content) of .02% is sufficient for a DUI conviction. Drivers 21 or older need to have a BAC level of .08% in order to be convicted of a DUI and commercial drivers—those big truck drivers, or pizza delivery people—must have a BAC level of .04%.
3. If you’re a student, you can lose your scholarships: Many schools already do not accept a student who has a DUI conviction on their record. However, for students already accepted, your scholarship may be revoked or denied. This may be overwhelmingly burdensome for students who rely on scholarships to pay for school.
4. Your auto insurance rates will rise: When you get a DUI conviction, its not a question of if your car insurance rates will increase, it’s a question of how much, because your insurance rates will go up. Following DUI convictions, your automobile insurance rates will likely increase significantly because insurance companies consider drivers who have been convicted of a DUI a “high-risk” driver. Your insurance rates can be doubled or even tripled. And those rates are likely to stay that high for several years after your DUI conviction. In some extreme cases, some insurance companies may even terminate your coverage. This is perhaps the worst consequence for some drivers who deal with a DUI conviction.
5. First time offenders may even have to use an ignition interlock device: The dreaded ignition interlock device is probably the one thing that drivers wish they didn’t have to go through. An ignition interlock device (or “IID”) is similar to a breathalyzer, however it’s different in the sense that it prevents you from starting your vehicle unless you use the actual device. It is usually connected to the vehicle dashboard or may be connected to another part of your car. These devices are programmed with a certain BAC limit. If the device detects that the driver has passed the BAC limit, the engine to the vehicle will not start. These IID devices are usually given to drivers who are given restricted driver’s licenses by the courts. Strict adherence to IID rules must be followed in order for reinstatement of a driver’s license…and if you want to use your car.
Facing the consequences of DUI conviction can be overwhelming and sometimes impossible to get through. However, at the King Law Firm, we are here to help you do just that. Getting the right representation, with an attorney who knows the ins-and-outs of DUI’s, is the first step for all those experiencing the dreaded DUI process. Should you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney, please feel free to call the King Law Firm. We’re here for you.