DUI FAQs

How many drinks must I have before I am considered impaired in Florida?

There is no definite number. Each individual will respond differently to the effects of alcohol based on a number of factors. If your Blood or Breath Alcohol Concentration is .08 or greater, you can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Do I have to submit to a sobriety test?

No. However, refusing such tests has serious consequences. In Florida, by operating a motor vehicle you are impliedly consenting to submit to any lawfully requested sobriety test. Furthermore, the ability to drive within the state is considered a privilege, and that privilege may be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Additionally, your refusal to submit to a test is admissible in any criminal proceeding against you as evidence of you consciousness of guilt.

If I refuse the test, then there is no evidence and the case will be dismissed, right?

Wrong. The prosecutor can still move forward with your case even without a breath test. The prosecutor will have to use the facts of your case to demonstrate that your normal faculties were impaired.

I refused a breath/blood/urine test, will my license be suspended?

If you refuse your license will be suspended for 12 months if this is your first refusal, or 18 months if this is your second or subsequent refusal. From the time the DUI citation is issued you will have a 10 day grace period to drive before the suspension takes place. Additionally, during this ten day period it is also your timeframe to request an administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to challenge the suspension of your driving privilege.

My breath test was under .08, can I still be found guilty of DUI?

Yes. In Florida, it is also unlawful to drive if your normal faculties are impaired. Normal faculties refer to a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks such as seeing, hearing, walking, measuring distances, talking, etc.

What if I was sleeping in the car when the police approached me?

In Florida the prosecutor must prove that a person was driving OR that a person was in actual physical control of the vehicle. For instance, if you are standing outside of your parked car with the keys in your pocket, you may be considered in actual physical control of the vehicle.

I was arrested for DUI in Florida. Will I have to serve time in jail?

The Florida Legislature has classified a first time DUI as a special second degree misdemeanor with a maximum jail sentence of 180 days. The sentence will depend on the particular facts of your case, your criminal history, and any aggravating factors. If this is your second DUI within five years there is a mandatory 10 day jail sentence.

Do I need to be present at every court hearing?

If you are represented by an attorney you will not need to be present at every pre-trial conference. You will need to be present on your date of trial. If you are not represented by counsel, you will need to be present at all scheduled court appearances. If you fail to appear, the Judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest.