What is the legal limit for alcohol in Florida?

Written by:Julian Stroleny PortraitJulian Stroleny
Photo of a Man Drinking Beer while Driving

In the state of Florida, alcoholic drinks are readily available, with most restaurants having alcoholic beverages on the menu. While alcohol is readily available in Florida, the state has strict penalties for anyone convicted of an alcohol-related offense, such as driving under the influence (DUI). If you are charged with a DUI, you may need the help of an experienced DUI attorney. To learn more about Florida’s limit for alcohol and how a skilled Miami criminal defense attorney can help you, continue reading 

Legal Blood Alcohol Limit in Florida 

Florida matches the federal legal alcohol limit of 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC). Almost all states use 0.08 as the maximum allowable limit for BAC. The 0.08 BAC reading means that the blood has ethyl alcohol measuring eight parts per 10,000. The BAC limit is lower for commercial drivers, like truckers. 

When the BAC level reaches 0.08, a person’s reaction time and reflexes are slower, and their judgment is impaired. This is why drunk driving is so dangerous and results in so many accidents every year. Drunk driving accidents can cause serious injuries, fatalities, and property damage. 

If you are wondering how many drinks it takes to reach a BAC level of 0.08, you may be surprised to know that for men, it can take only 2 to 3 drinks. Women can reach this level with only 1 to 2 drinks. This is based on the assumption that one drink qualifies as 12 fluid ounces of beer, five fluid ounces of wine, or 1.5 fluid ounces of distilled spirits. Alcohol tolerance depends on total alcohol consumption, body weight,  metabolism, alcohol concentration of the drink, and a few other factors. 

How is Blood Alcohol Level Measured? 

When you drink an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol gets processed by the liver and gets absorbed into the bloodstream. The more you drink, the higher the blood alcohol concentration in the bloodstream. 

BAC is measured using a breathalyzer test, blood test, or urine test. The breathalyzer test is issued by a law enforcement official. The officer must use a certified machine to conduct the test. In most cases, they are required to use the Intoxilyzer 8000 breath test machine. 

What To Do If You Are Pulled Over for Suspected Drunk Driving? 

The first thing you need to do is to stay calm, as acting aggressively or panicked will not help. Just pull over your vehicle, open your window, and calmly talk to the police officer. There is no need to step out of the vehicle unless you are instructed to do so. Cooperate with the police officer. They might ask you to take a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer test. Do not fight or argue with police, however, whether you should consent to performing the tests is fact specific to your individual situation. If your results show a blood alcohol level above 0.08, you will be arrested. If you are arrested, it is vital to call your DUI lawyer and not say anything to the police officer that could undermine your case. 

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Florida 

If you are convicted of drunk driving in Florida, there is the potential of serious consequences. The penalties for drunk driving will depend on several factors, including any prior DUI convictions and your blood alcohol content. First-degree misdemeanors are serious charges and could result in severe consequences and penalties. 

If it is your first DUI conviction, you may have to pay fines but might not suffer incarceration. You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $5,000 in DUI fines for a first offense. While it is not common to face jail time for your first DUI driving offense in Miami, if your drunk driving resulted in other offenses, such as vehicular manslaughter, you could face jail time. A second or third conviction for DUI offenses in Florida could also result in jail time. A fourth DUI charge could result in 5 years in jail. 

If you are convicted of a DUI charge, it will stay on your record, as Florida does not allow the DUI charge to be expunged. You could also face suspension of your driver’s license, including any commercial driver’s license (CDL) that you carry. According to Florida DUI laws, when a person is arrested for DUI, they are subject to immediate suspension of their driver’s license. They have ten days from the time they were arrested to submit a request for a review of the license suspension. 

Photo of a Man Drinking Alcohol while Driving

Legal Defenses to Drunk Driving 

Risking the lives of others by driving drunk is illegal and should not be tolerated. However, if you believe you are wrongly charged, a lawyer can help you get the charges dismissed or reduced. 

A common legal defense to drunk driving charges is to prove that an inaccurate breath alcohol test was administered, meaning the person’s BAC was not above the legal limit. There can be several reasons why the test can be deemed inaccurate. This includes a faulty device, improper procedure, or certain medical conditions that led to the incorrect calculation of blood alcohol concentration. 

Another potential legal defense against drunk driving is that the suspect was not given the opportunity to contact a lawyer during the investigation. Everyone who is being interrogated has the right to have counsel present, and if they are denied this right, it can result in the dismissal of the case. (Delete entire paragraph)

In some cases, a DUI lawyer can prove that it was an illegal stop of the vehicle. The police need to have reasonable cause to believe that a driver has violated a law for them to stop the vehicle. The Fourth Amendment protects all individuals from unreasonable searches or seizures. If the police officer cannot provide a good reason why they stopped the vehicle, the DUI charges can be dismissed. 

Contact a Lawyer Well-Versed in Florida Law 

If you were charged or arrested for DUI, you should contact a DUI lawyer in Miami at Stroleny Law, P. A. We can assess your DUI case and guide your legal options. Our DUI defense attorneys are well-versed in the laws and regulations regarding DUI charges. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help you with various aspects related to DUI charges, including substance abuse evaluation.

Read More: Minimum sentence for DUI manslaughter

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