Everyone likes to celebrate. And whether you’re celebrating a holiday, a day off from work, or a fun event, your celebration may include alcohol. If you’re 21 or older, that’s okay.
It’s not okay, though, if you decide to get behind the wheel of a car or any type of vehicle after you’ve been drinking and attempt to drive somewhere. Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in Florida, and you could face a number of penalties – including large fines, the suspension of your driver’s license, and prison time.
Drinking and driving can have devastating effects for all aspects of your life. In Florida, you could be charged with a DUI – driving under the influence – if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 if you are 21 or older. A commercial driver only needs to have a BAC of 0.04, and if the driver is under 21, he or she can get a DUI with a 0.02 BAC.
The penalties for a DUI in Florida vary depending on if it’s your first offense, how high your BAC is, and if there is a minor in the vehicle.
First Offense. If you are convicted of a DUI as a first-time offender, you will be punished with a $500 to $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. If there was a minor in the vehicle or your BAC is 0.15 or higher the fine will be $1,000 to $2,000 and up to 9 months in jail. Your license will also be suspended for 180 days and up to 1 year. You are also required to complete DUI school.
Second Offense. If you are convicted of a second DUI offense, you will be punished with a fine of $1,000 to $2000 and up to 9 months in jail. If there was a minor in the vehicle or your BAC is 0.15 or higher the fine will be $2,000 to $4,000 and up to 12 months in jail. Your license can also be suspended for 5 years, which could be reduced to 1 year. You are also required to complete DUI school.
Additionally, our state has an implied consent law if you are ever pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. This means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine, you will automatically receive a fine and have your driver’s license suspended for one year.
And if you are involved in an auto accident while under the influence of alcohol, you could also make yourself susceptible to personal injury lawsuits depending on the harm you cause. For all of these reason, it’s important to be aware of alternative programs that are available to help prevent a DUI from ever happening in the first place.
Tow to Go, formed as a partnership between AAA and Bud Light, is one of those programs that hopes to make the roads safer for drivers in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.
AAA and Bud Light partnered in 1998 to give intoxicated drivers a safe alternative to getting home on busy, celebratory holidays. In 2015, the Tow to Go program was available to intoxicated drivers during the Super Bowl, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
Tow to Go should be used as a last resort if you’ve been drinking and need to get yourself and your vehicle home safely. The guidelines for Tow to Go are simple:
Before you go out and plan to start drinking, it’s always best to make a plan and have a designated driver available so no one has to drive drunk and risk a DUI. But it’s good to know that there are programs like Tow to Go available as a last resort to help prevent DUIs.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a DUI accident, contact an experienced DUI car crash lawyer today to know your rights.
About the Author:
Attorney Julie Schrank Luhrsen attributes her successes both as a lawyer and also as a leader to the training and experience she obtained while serving as an active-duty Army JAG lawyer. Beyond the many cases she tried, she learned invaluable lessons about leadership and teamwork that she uses daily at her firm and on behalf of her personal injury clients. While proud to hold a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating, her most gratifying accomplishment was to be the recipient of the American Bar Association’s Legal Assistance for Military Personnel award. In practice in Florida for over 15 years, Julie focuses on representing the injured and providing them the support and legal guidance needed to attain the best result possible. She welcomes the chance to help Florida families recover after serious accidents and from legal wrongs.