DUI license

DUI, driving under the influence, is a serious charge. In Florida, as in many other states, an extreme DUI is a more severe charge and one with very harsh penalties. In Florida, a driver is considered DUI when he or she has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. When the BAC is above 0.15% the driver DUI is considered extreme. Keep in mind that Florida is one state that has a zero tolerance law in place. This means that any driver under the age of 21 (the legal drinking age) will be charged with DUI regardless of the BAC. This is because those under the age of 21 aren’t legally allowed to drink so any amount of alcohol in the system is considered DUI.

Taking BAC Tests

If you are stopped for a traffic violation the police officer may determine that you are potentially driving while intoxicated. The officer may ask you to take some field sobriety tests. You may be familiar with these types of tests. They consist of things such as walking a straight line, reciting the alphabet, or standing on one leg. The officer may also have you follow a light with your eyes in an attempt to determine sobriety. If the officer feels that you have been drinking he will request that you take a BAC test. The test most often used for this purpose is the breathalyzer test, but you may also be asked to submit to a blood or urine test. All of these tests are designed to measure the level of alcohol in your bloodstream. In Florida, you are required to take a BAC test if requested by law enforcement.

What if I Don’t Submit to a Breath Test?

Florida has an implied consent law in place. In order to get your driver’s license you have agreed to the terms that include that you agree to submit to BAC testing if requested. Failure to consent to this testing will result in separate charges that include automatic suspension of your driver’s license for a period of a year. Additionally, refusal to take the testing will be used against you in your DUI case. Whether you submit to testing or not is completely up to you. However, it is a good idea to speak to an attorney prior to your decision. If you are well over the legal limit and are potentially facing extreme DUI charges, the situation may be a difficult one. One little known fact about DUI testing is that you can request to have your own testing done. This will help to ensure that the testing was done properly.

DUI Penalties

DUI penalties are severe, but penalties for extreme DUI are even harsher. Penalties may include:

  • Jail sentence
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Fines (increased fines for extreme DUI)
  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Mandatory driver’s license suspension (extreme DUI)
  • Alcohol counseling

Of course the fines, suspension of driver’s license, and jail time increase upon conviction of extreme DUI. You’ll also face an increase in your auto insurance rates and some drivers may find it difficult to get insurance at all. It is important to understand that you face these penalties only if you are found guilty of the charges. You can and should do everything possible to protect your rights and defend the DUI charges. Speak to an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Your lawyer will review your case and assist you in resolving the situation in the best possible way.