DUI Under Florida Law | Driving Under the Influence
In Florida, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense that
may carry misdemeanor or felony penalties, depending on the number of prior convictions
and whether the incident caused death or serious bodily injury. A conviction for
DUI in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida will affect not just your criminal record,
but your liberty, your financial well-being, your reputation, your insurance premiums,
and your driving privileges for the long-term. Moreover, a DUI record can never
be expunged and can never be sealed.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Jacksonville, Duval County, Clay County, or
Nassau County Florida, you may have defenses available to contest the charge or to
minimize potential penalties. Contact our Jacksonville DUI Defense Attorney today
for a free consultation.
Definition of DUI- Florida Law
Under Florida law, DUI is defined as the act of driving (or being in actual physical
control of a vehicle) while a person is impaired beyond his or her normal faculties,
or while he or she has an unlawful blood alcohol level.
To prove the crime of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida, the prosecution
must establish that:
The defendant drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle, and
While driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle, the defendant either (a)
was under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances (such as prescription
medications), or controlled substances to the extent that his/her normal faculties
were impaired, or (b) had a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or higher.
Thus, under Florida Statutes Section 316.193, driving under the influence may be
proven either by demonstrating that a defendant’s normal faculties were impaired
or by demonstrating a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or higher. “Normal faculties”
include, but are not limited to, the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances,
drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies, and, in general, to normally
perform the many mental and physical acts of our daily lives.
To prove a DUI in Florida, it is not necessary that an accused engage in the act
of driving. The standard is driving or “actual physical control.” For an in-depth
discussion of this topic, visit our web page on Actual Physical Control of a Vehicle.
Florida DUI Presumptions
Under the Florida DUI Statute, the blood or breath alcohol level of a defendant creates
certain presumptions that will be used if the case proceeds to trial. If the jury
finds that the blood or breath alcohol level is .05 or less, this will create a presumption
(rebuttable) that the defendant was not under the influence to the extent that his
or her normal faculties were impaired. If the level is greater than .05 but less
than .08, no presumption is created either for or against impairment. If the blood
or breath alcohol level is found to be .08 or higher, that evidence alone is sufficient
to create a presumption of impairment beyond normal faculties.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida
The penalties for DUI in Florida are nothing short of severe. For an in-depth discussion
of the various types of DUI’s, and the penalties applicable to each offense, visit
our Florida DUI Penalties web page.