DUI is the among most common crimes in the state of Florida. If you are charged with DUI it is important to consult an experienced DUI defense lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. A DUI conviction can be a life changing event. An aggressive DUI attorney will fight to get your case dismissed or amended to reckless driving, and avoid the stiff criminal penalties that come with a DUI conviction. The following is a basic Florida DUI Guide. It is intended to help people charged with DUI in Florida better understand basic principles in Florida DUI defense and DUI litigation strategies. This is not intended to be a comprehensive outline of all possible DUI defenses in Florida. If you are charged with DUI it is important to contact an experienced Florida DUI attorney to address the issues specific to your DUI cases.
The crime of Driving Under the Influence is defined by Florida Statute 316.193. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessarily illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in Florida. To be convicted of DUI in Florida, it must be proven that the Defendant:
(1) was driving, or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle
(2) while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, or other chemical substance listed in F.S. 877.111, or controlled substance listed in F.S. Chapter 893; and
(3) was had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or above, or was under the influence to the extent that their normal faculties were impaired.
The legal limit is lowered 0.02 for drivers under 21 years of age. In most cases, prosecutors rely on breath test, or breathalyzer, results to prove an unlawful blood alcohol level. In some DUI cases blood tests are administered which can also be used to prove an unlawful blood alcohol level. Urine test are also commonly utilized in DUI investigations. However, theses test are generally used to identify the presence of drugs in a suspect’s system. It is not possible to quantify a person’s blood alcohol content with a urine test alone. In many cases, the DUI suspect will refuse all forms of testing. In a “refusal case”, the prosecutor must resort to the alternative theory of DUI prosecution. DUI can be proven without any chemical evidence if the prosecutor proves that the Defendant was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (or any other intoxicant covered by the statute) to the extent that their normal faculties were impaired.
DUI most commonly takes place in automobiles. However, the Florida DUI law covers all motor vehicles including motorcycles, mopeds, boats, personal watercraft, golf carts, and other motorized vehicles. It is also important to remember that you don’t have to be driving to be charged with DUI in Florida. The Florida DUI statute prohibits driving, or being “in actual physical control of a vehicle” while impaired. The actual physical control theory is typically used to prosecute cases where the Defendant fell asleep or passed out behind the wheel, or in traffic accident cases.
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