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Your Most Common Questions About Florida DUIs Answered




What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for a DUI in Florida

Getting pulled over for a DUI can be a nerve-wracking experience. Knowing how to handle the situation can make a significant difference. Here are some essential steps to follow:

  • Stay Calm and Compliant: Keep your hands visible on the steering wheel and follow the officer’s instructions carefully. Remaining calm can help you think more clearly and avoid escalating the situation.
  • Know Your Rights: You have the right to remain silent. Politely decline to answer questions about where you are coming from or if you have been drinking. This can prevent you from inadvertently incriminating yourself.
  • Refuse Roadside Tests: You can decline to take roadside sobriety tests. These tests are often subjective and can be used as evidence against you. If you have had more than two drinks, it is generally advisable to refuse these tests.
  • Request a Lawyer: Ask to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Although you may not be entitled to one at the roadside, your request will be noted. This can be crucial for your defense later on.

What should you do if you are pulled over for a DUI in Florida? Stay calm, know your rights, refuse roadside tests, and request a lawyer.

Understanding these steps can help you navigate a DUI stop more effectively. The police are gathering evidence from the moment they pull you over, so it’s essential to be mindful of your actions and words.

When you see those blue lights flashing, your heart might skip a beat, and your mind may race. Remember, knowledge is power. If you follow these guidelines, you will be in the best legal position should you be arrested for a DUI.

For more detailed information on what to do after a DUI arrest, check out our comprehensive guide on post-DUI actions.

If you are facing a DUI charge, understanding the legal process can help you prepare for what lies ahead. For an in-depth look at the DUI legal process, visit our step-by-step guide to the Florida DUI legal process.


Understanding Florida DUI Laws and Penalties

Understanding Florida DUI Laws and Penalties - Your Most Common Questions About Florida DUIs Answered

Florida has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country, and understanding these laws is crucial if you want to navigate a DUI charge successfully. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limits

In Florida, the legal BAC limits vary depending on the type of driver:

  • Adults (21+): A BAC of 0.08% or higher is illegal.
  • Under 21: A BAC of 0.02% or higher is illegal.
  • Commercial Drivers: A BAC of 0.04% or higher is illegal.

Penalties for DUI Offenses

The penalties for a DUI in Florida can be severe and escalate with each subsequent offense. Here’s what you might face:

  • First Offense: Penalties can include fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, a license suspension of 180 days to one year, mandatory DUI school, and up to six months in jail.
  • Second Offense: Fines increase to $1,000 to $2,000, a license suspension of five years if within five years of the first offense, mandatory DUI school, and up to nine months in jail. An ignition interlock device may also be required.
  • Third Offense: Considered a felony if within 10 years of the previous offenses, with fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, a license suspension of 10 years, and up to five years in prison. An ignition interlock device is mandatory.

What are the penalties for a first DUI offense in Florida? Penalties can include fines, license suspension, mandatory DUI school, and up to six months in jail.

Aggravating Factors

Certain factors can lead to more severe penalties for a DUI in Florida:

  • High BAC: A BAC of 0.15% or higher can result in higher fines and longer jail time.
  • Minor in the Vehicle: Having a minor in the car at the time of the offense can lead to increased penalties.
  • Accidents: Causing an accident while driving under the influence, especially if it results in injury or death, can lead to felony charges and severe penalties.

These aggravating factors can significantly impact the outcome of your case, making it even more critical to understand the laws and seek legal advice.

For a deeper dive into the specific penalties associated with Florida DUI charges, you can explore our Florida DUI Penalties Guide.

Administrative Penalties

In addition to criminal penalties, Florida imposes administrative penalties for DUI offenses:

  • License Suspension: Your license can be suspended immediately upon arrest, even before a conviction. For a first offense, this suspension can last up to one year.
  • Hardship License: You may be eligible for a hardship license, allowing you to drive to work or school, but this typically requires completion of DUI school and other conditions.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: For repeat offenders or those with high BAC levels, an ignition interlock device may be required as a condition of reinstating your driving privileges.

Understanding these administrative penalties is crucial for managing the immediate consequences of a DUI arrest. For more details on license suspensions and how to navigate them, visit our Florida Guide to DUI Licensing Issues.

Florida’s DUI laws are complex, and the penalties can be harsh. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of these laws and how they apply to your specific situation. If you find yourself facing a DUI charge, seeking legal counsel can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

For more information on the legal framework surrounding DUIs in Florida, check out our Beginner’s Guide to DUI in Florida.


Should You Take a Breathalyzer Test?

One of the most common questions about Florida DUIs is whether to take a breathalyzer test. Here are some considerations:

  • Implied Consent Law: Florida’s implied consent law means that by driving, you agree to submit to a breathalyzer test if lawfully arrested for a DUI.
  • Refusal Consequences: Refusing a breathalyzer test can result in an automatic license suspension. However, it may also limit the evidence against you.
  • Legal Advice: If you have had more than two drinks, it may be wise to refuse the test and consult with a DUI lawyer immediately.

Florida’s implied consent law is a critical aspect to understand. By obtaining a driver’s license in Florida, you have already agreed to submit to chemical tests, including breath, blood, or urine tests if an officer has probable cause to believe you are driving under the influence.

What is Florida’s implied consent law? Florida’s implied consent law means that by driving, you agree to submit to a breathalyzer test if lawfully arrested for a DUI.

Refusing to take a breathalyzer test can have immediate consequences. Under Florida law, your driver’s license can be suspended for one year for a first refusal and 18 months for any subsequent refusals. This is an administrative penalty separate from any criminal charges you may face.

Should You Refuse the Breathalyzer Test?

The decision to refuse a breathalyzer test is complex and depends on various factors. Here are some points to consider:

  • License Suspension: Refusing the test will result in an automatic license suspension. However, you may be able to obtain a hardship license to drive to work or school.
  • Evidence Limitation: By refusing the test, you limit the evidence available to the prosecution. This can make it more challenging for them to prove their case against you.
  • Legal Representation: Consulting with a DUI attorney immediately can help you understand the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.

It’s important to note that while refusing a breathalyzer test can limit the evidence against you, it does not guarantee that you will avoid a DUI charge. The prosecution can still use other evidence, such as the officer’s observations and any field sobriety tests you may have performed.

Impact of Refusal on Your Case

Refusing a breathalyzer test can have both positive and negative impacts on your DUI case:

  • Positive Impact: Limiting evidence can make it more difficult for the prosecution to prove you were impaired. This can increase your chances of a favorable outcome in court.
  • Negative Impact: The prosecution may argue that your refusal indicates guilt. Additionally, the administrative penalties, such as license suspension, can still apply.

Understanding the implications of refusing a breathalyzer test is crucial. Consulting with an experienced DUI lawyer can help you navigate these complexities and make informed decisions.

For more information on the legal framework surrounding DUIs in Florida, you can explore our Beginner’s Guide to DUI in Florida.

If you have been arrested for a DUI, it is essential to understand your rights and the potential defenses available to you. For a comprehensive overview of DUI defenses, visit our Ultimate Guide to DUI Defenses in Florida.


Common Defenses Against DUI Charges

Facing a DUI charge can be daunting, but there are several common defenses that a skilled DUI lawyer can use:

Challenging the Traffic Stop

If the traffic stop was not conducted lawfully, any evidence obtained during the stop may be inadmissible in court.

  • Improper Procedure: If the officer did not follow proper procedures, this could be a basis for a defense.
  • Faulty Equipment: Breathalyzers and other testing equipment must be properly maintained and calibrated. Faulty equipment can lead to inaccurate results.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions can mimic signs of intoxication or affect breathalyzer results.

What are some defenses to DUI? Common defenses to DUI include challenging the legality of the traffic stop, questioning the accuracy of breathalyzers, and highlighting medical conditions that mimic intoxication.

Questioning the Accuracy of Chemical Tests

Breathalyzers and other chemical tests are not infallible. Factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, and operator error can lead to inaccurate results. An experienced DUI attorney can scrutinize these aspects to challenge the validity of the test results.

  • Improper Calibration: Breathalyzers must be regularly calibrated to ensure accuracy. If this is not done, the results may be unreliable.
  • Maintenance Issues: Regular maintenance is essential for the proper functioning of breathalyzers. Any lapse in maintenance can affect the results.
  • Operator Error: The person administering the test must follow specific procedures. Any deviation can lead to inaccurate results.

If you are facing DUI charges, it is crucial to understand the potential flaws in the chemical testing process. For more information, you can explore our guide on Actual Physical Control in Florida DUIs.

Scrutinizing the Officer’s Observations and Procedures

The observations and procedures followed by the arresting officer are critical components of a DUI case. Any deviations from standard protocols or inconsistencies in the officer’s report can be used to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.

  • Inconsistent Observations: If the officer’s observations are inconsistent or contradictory, it can weaken the prosecution’s case.
  • Deviations from Protocol: Officers must follow specific protocols during a DUI stop. Any deviations can be grounds for a defense.
  • Bias and Prejudice: If there is evidence of bias or prejudice on the part of the officer, it can be used to challenge the validity of the arrest.

Understanding the importance of the officer’s conduct during a DUI stop is crucial. For a deeper dive into this topic, check out our article on defending your rights during unlawful DUI traffic stops.

Highlighting Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can mimic signs of intoxication or affect breathalyzer results. For example, diabetes, acid reflux, and certain neurological conditions can produce symptoms that resemble intoxication.

  • Diabetes: Diabetics can experience hypoglycemia, which can cause symptoms such as confusion and slurred speech, similar to intoxication.
  • Acid Reflux: Acid reflux can cause alcohol to be present in the mouth, leading to falsely high breathalyzer readings.
  • Neurological Conditions: Conditions such as multiple sclerosis or epilepsy can affect coordination and speech, mimicking signs of intoxication.

How can medical conditions affect DUI charges? Medical conditions such as diabetes, acid reflux, and neurological disorders can mimic signs of intoxication or affect breathalyzer results.

Medical conditions can play a significant role in DUI defense. To learn more about how these conditions can be mistaken for signs of impairment, visit our page on medical issues mistaken for DUI.

Challenging Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are often used by officers to determine if a driver is impaired. However, these tests can be highly subjective and are not always reliable.

  • Subjectivity: The results of field sobriety tests are often based on the officer’s subjective judgment, which can be influenced by bias.
  • Physical Limitations: Physical conditions such as injuries or disabilities can affect a person’s ability to perform field sobriety tests.
  • Environmental Factors: Factors such as uneven surfaces, poor lighting, and adverse weather conditions can impact the results of field sobriety tests.

Field sobriety tests are a critical part of DUI investigations, but they are not always accurate. For a detailed look at these tests, check out our Ultimate Guide to Field Sobriety “Tests” or Exercises in Florida.

Using Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses can provide valuable testimony to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. These experts can include toxicologists, medical professionals, and accident reconstruction specialists.

  • Toxicologists: Can testify about the accuracy of chemical tests and the effects of alcohol on the body.
  • Medical Professionals: Can provide insights into how medical conditions may have affected the defendant’s behavior or test results.
  • Accident Reconstruction Specialists: Can analyze the circumstances of the traffic stop or accident to provide alternative explanations for the evidence.

Expert witnesses can make a significant difference in a DUI case. For more on how expert testimony can be used in DUI defense, visit our page on how to beat your DUI case.

Facing a DUI charge is a serious matter, but there are numerous defenses that can be employed to challenge the prosecution’s case. Consulting with an experienced DUI lawyer can help you understand the best defense strategy for your specific situation. For more information on DUI defenses, you can explore our Ultimate Guide to DUI Defenses in Florida.

Your Most Common Questions About Florida DUIs Answered with a focus on field sobriety tests


Infographic depicting the words Your Most Common Questions About Florida DUIs Answered


What happens if I refuse a breathalyzer test in Florida?

If you refuse a breathalyzer test in Florida, you will face an automatic license suspension under the state’s implied consent law. For a first refusal, your license will be suspended for one year. A second refusal can result in an 18-month suspension and a misdemeanor charge. Refusing a breathalyzer test may limit the evidence against you, but it also comes with significant consequences.

Can you be charged with a DUI if you are not driving?

Yes, you can be charged with a DUI in Florida even if you are not driving. Florida law includes the concept of ‘actual physical control,’ which means you can be charged with a DUI if you are in control of a vehicle while impaired, even if the vehicle is not moving. This can include situations where you are found sleeping in your car with the keys in the ignition.

What are the penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Florida?

The penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Florida can include fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, license suspension for six months to one year, and up to six months in jail. Additional penalties may include community service, DUI school, and the installation of an ignition interlock device. Penalties can be more severe if there are aggravating factors such as a high BAC or an accident.

How long does a DUI stay on your record in Florida?

A DUI conviction in Florida will stay on your driving record for 75 years and cannot be expunged or sealed. This means that a DUI can have long-term consequences on your insurance rates, employment opportunities, and more. It’s crucial to consult with a DUI attorney to explore all possible defenses and minimize the impact on your record.

Understanding the complexities of DUI laws and penalties is crucial. For more information, check out our Beginner’s Guide to DUI in Florida. If you have been charged with a DUI, knowing your defense options can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. It’s also important to understand the evidence required for a DUI arrest in Florida.


Explore additional areas of practice we serve to better understand the full range of legal services we offer:

Beginner’s Guide to DUI in Florida Direct File Process for DUI Cases in Florida
Difference Between DUI and DWI in Florida DUI Uniform Traffic Citations in Florida
Actual Physical Control (APC) in Florida DUIs Florida’s .08 Per Se Standard for DUI
Blowing Over the Legal Limit but Not Drunk Should I Get a Lawyer for a DUI in Florida
What to Do After a DUI in Florida Step-by-Step Guide to the Florida DUI Legal Process
How Long Does the DUI Process Take in Florida I Just Got a DUI, What’s Next?
How to Win Your DUI Case Evidence Needed for a DUI Arrest in Florida
Most Common Questions About Florida DUIs Answered Difference Between DUI and DWI in Florida

Top-Rated DUI Lawyers Serving Florida

Looking for the best DUI lawyers in Florida? Our distinguished team of attorneys is committed to offering you the best possible defense against your DUI charges.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the Florida legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
  • Joe Easton: Renowned for crafting winning defenses, Joe Easton’s approach to legal advocacy in Florida combines thorough preparation with aggressive representation. His notable recognitions and ratings stand testament to his exceptional service and client-focused approach.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard infuses every DUI case with a level of personal commitment and innovative thinking that sets him apart. His leadership has not only grown Leppard Law into a top-rated criminal defense law firm but also ensured that clients receive empathetic, effective legal care.

Discover What Our Clients Are Saying

At the forefront of our DUI practice is a deep-seated commitment to client satisfaction. Each case is handled with utmost care, as echoed in the appreciative feedback from those we represent. Stellar reviews are what make us one consistently one of Central Florida’s top-rated DUI law firms. This is just a portion of our hundreds of 5-star reviews on Facebook, Google, Thumbtack, Yelp, and more. You can read more 5-star reviews here.














Your Most Common Questions About Florida DUIs Answered

Take Control of Your DUI Case Today

Dealing with a DUI charge can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. At Leppard Law: DUI Attorneys, we understand the stress and uncertainty that comes with such charges. Our mission is to provide you with the personal, dedicated, and expert legal representation you deserve.

What does it look like to have a personal relationship with your attorney? It means having someone who truly has your back when things get tough—a lawyer who knows you as well as they know your case. At Leppard Law, we treat our clients like family, always putting their best interests first and fighting for the best possible outcome.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Experience our dedication and expertise firsthand. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI or any criminal offense, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call us at 407-476-4111 or visit our contact page.

Our commitment to excellence has been recognized with numerous accolades:

  • Named as one of the “Top Personal Injury Lawyers in Orlando, FL” 2023 by Expertise
  • Highlighted among the “Top Personal Injury Attorneys near Sanford, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack
  • Listed among the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Sanford” from 2016-2023 by Expertise
  • Recognized as one of the “Top 10 DUI Attorneys near Orlando, FL” by Thumbtack
  • Ranked as #1 on Yelp’s list of “Best Lawyers in Orlando” (2024)

At Leppard Law, we take immense pride in helping our clients navigate through some of life’s most challenging moments. Your trust and support have fueled our commitment to excellence, and we’re honored to be a part of our shared community. While we hope you never face a criminal charge, we want you to know that if the need arises, we’re here for you.

ONE call to our top-rated criminal defense attorneys can make all the difference. Schedule your consultation today, and let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve. Call us now at 407-476-4111 or visit our contact page to get started.

“From Their Bench to Your Defense” – As former prosecutors, we’ve sat on their side and mastered their playbook. Now, we’re in your corner, defending your rights with exceptional dedication and expertise.

Don’t let a DUI charge define your future. Take control and let us help you navigate through this challenging time. Schedule your consultation today and let Leppard Law provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.


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Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Experienced Florida DUI Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your DUI case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

Learn More About Joe Easton