Driving while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or a controlled substance (D.U.I.) is one of the most serious traffic violations an individual can commit, and is a crime.

Immediately after your arrest, you will most likely be subject to the “implied consent” law. As a condition of having the privilege to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Florida, you have agreed to take a chemical test if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe you are under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or controlled substance. Depending on the facts leading to your arrest, the police may request a breath test, urine test, or blood test to find out how much alcohol or what kind of drugs are in your bloodstream. You do not have the right to have an attorney present when you take such a test. You do have the right to have a second test administered by a physician or a laboratory technician of your choice; however, the second test must be paid for by you. If you test above the legal breath/blood alcohol limit of .08 (DUBAL- “driving with unlawful breath/blood alcohol level”), your license will be suspended for 6 months for a first DUBAL offense, or 1 year for a second or more time. If you refuse to take the requested test, your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 1 year for a first refusal and 18 months if your driving privilege has been previously suspended for refusing to submit to such a test[1]. A suspension imposed under the “implied consent” law (an administrative suspension) starts on the date of arrest and is completely separate from the criminal court case. In addition, refusing to submit to a test for the second time is actually a crime itself. You do have the right to challenge an administrative suspension, but the request must be made within 10 days from the date of your arrest to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

If you are convicted of D.U.I., you are subject to heavy penalties. These penalties include possible imprisonment of up to 6 months, a loss of your driver’s license for up to 1 year (this license revocation is different than the suspension for refusing a test, and starts the date of conviction), a fine up to $1,000 in addition to court costs, completion of a substance abuse course, 50 hours of community service, and the vehicle you were driving must be impounded.[2] The The penalties are even more serious if your blood alcohol level was .15 or higher or if there were passengers in the vehicle under the age of 18 years old[3]. In some circumstances where a person has previous DUI convictions, or causes death or serious bodily injury to another person, then they will be charged with a felony, and could face prison time and a permanent loss of driver’s license.

Due to the consequences of a DUI arrest and conviction, you may want to immediately consult with an attorney for advice regarding your case and defenses, and determine if you are eligible for a “business purposes only” permit, which allows for specified restricted driving during a suspension or revocation.

[1] § 316.1932, Fla. Stat.

[2] § 316.193, Fla. Stat.

[3] § 316.193(4), Fla. Stat.