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Information on Florida DUI laws and penalties

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2021 | DUI |

Stats from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement report 32,177 DUI arrests in 2018. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol in every state. A driver in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, may face several penalties for DUI.

Overview of Florida DUI

Florida considers a driver drunk when they lack their normal physical and mental ability to operate a motor vehicle. They can not be in actual control of the vehicle under the influence or with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more. Actual physical control means the driver intended to drive or had the power to operate the vehicle, even if they were unable.

BAC levels are set lower for commercial at .04 and at .02 for drivers under 21 under Zero Tolerance. If a driver gets arrested on BAC alone, it is called per se, which means the officer needs no further proof.


Penalties for a first DUI offense include a 180-day to one-year license suspension, a maximum six-month jail term, and a maximum $1000 fine. Drivers with a BAC of .15 or more may serve a nine-month prison term and pay up to a $2,000 fine. A second offense carries up to 9 months of jail with a BAC of .08, up to a $2,000 fine, and a 180-day to one-year license suspension.

Drivers arrested in Florida for DUI have consented to take chemical testing, such as breathalyzers, by having a license. Drivers who refuse chemical testing after arrest may get a one-year license suspension and an 18-month suspension for a second refusal.

Drivers charged with a DUI aren’t always guilty and mistakes can be made during arrests. The prosecution must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, which the driver can challenge.