FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here are some of the questions asked by clients charged under Florida’s Driving Under the Influence laws.
Q: What is “Driving Under the Influence”?
A: Florida law defines driving under the influence (also known as “DUI”) as driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle when one’s “normal faculties” are “impaired” due to consumption of alcohol or drugs.
Q: How is impairment proved?
A: Impairment can be proved through evidence of the driver’s physical condition (slurred speech, unsteady gait, failing field sobriety tests, odor of alcohol on breath, etc.). It is not necessary for the prosecution to show that the driver had a certain blood alcohol concentration (BAC), although if a breath or blood test was administered, the driver is automatically presumed to be impaired if the results show a BAC above a specified limit.
Q: What is Florida’s legal limit?
A: Actually, it’s “limits”. For a driver of a non-commercial vehicle who is age 21 or older, the legal BAC limit is 0.08 grams per milliliter of blood (or 0.08 grams per 210 liters of breath). A commercial motor vehicle driver is presumed to be impaired at half that level (0.04%), and a driver under age 21 is guilty of DUI if he or she drives with a higher than 0.02% BAC. In addition, any driver with a very high BAC (0.15% or greater) can be charged with “aggravated” DUI. There are no established “limits” for other illegal substances.
Q: Why do police ask drivers suspected of being impaired to take a breath test?
A: As noted above, a driver is presumed to be impaired if his or her BAC exceeds specific levels. Even if a driver is visibly intoxicated, therefore, the test will be administered in order to obtain additional evidence of impairment.
Q: Can I refuse to take the breath test?
A: Yes, but not without serious consequences. Though you may not know it, when you decided to drive in Florida, you consented to taking an approved chemical or physical sobriety test. This doesn’t mean the police can force you to take the test, but if you refuse you’ll face an automatic suspension of driving privileges, even if you weren’t impaired. And remember – you can still be convicted of DUI even without evidence of your BAC.
Q: What are field sobriety tests?
A: Field sobriety tests are used by police to determine if people are intoxicated. Because alcohol consumption adversely affects coordination and balance, a suspect may be asked to stand on one leg, to walk a straight line or, with eyes closed, touch one finger to his or her nose.
Q: Do I need a DUI defense attorney?
A: A DUI conviction can have serious long-term consequences. If you have been charged with DUI in South Florida, you need an experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney on your side. The lawyers at Orner & Orner, P.L.L.C. have many years of experience in representing DUI defendants.
We are here to protect your legal rights and interests. Contact a South Florida DUI Lawyer at our offices today.