Florida’s DUI Laws and the Doctrine of Implied Consent

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2015 | Car Accidents

Florida has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country, and yet driving under the influence remains a leading cause of fatal auto accidents here. Victims and their families have an easier time obtaining justice if they can clearly demonstrate that the at-fault driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

Pick up and read a newspaper on any given day, and you will surely find at least one story about a tragic accident where alcohol is suspected as a factor.  It is infuriating to say the least.  In fact, if I have a complaint about South Florida, it is the reckless disregard for human life.  Some drivers either don’t understand or don’t care about the harm they cause.

At Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, we understand how difficult, upsetting, and tragic these cases can be. While drunk drivers are likely to face criminal penalties for their irresponsible actions, our firm is focused on making sure that victims and their families aren’t left to pay out of pocket for those actions in the meantime.

If you’ve been injured by an inebriated driver, you might be wondering exactly how Florida’s DUI laws work. How much is too much? Does age matter? Can a driver refuse to take a sobriety test in Florida? We answer those questions and more below.

Understanding Florida’s DUI Laws

Police officers use a field sobriety test to determine how much alcohol is in a person’s system at the time of an accident, traffic stop, or arrest. This test produces a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) reading. Officers will generally charge a driver with DUI if the BAC exceeds the following:

  • .02% for drivers under the age of 21
  • .08% for drivers 21 or older
  • .04% for drivers operating a commercial vehicle

The .02% maximum for drivers under the age of 21 represents a “zero tolerance” policy, as even one alcoholic beverage is usually enough to elevate a young driver’s BAC above that level.

If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving accident in Florida, an experienced lawyer can help you access information about the at-fault driver’s field sobriety results. Often, any reading over the legal limit will prompt the driver’s insurance company to more readily negotiate a reasonable settlement.   The reason being is that the driver is responsible for paying punitive damages.

The Doctrine of Implied Consent

Florida applies the “doctrine of implied consent,” which means that drivers are required to submit to a blood, urine, or breath test to detect intoxicants in their system while driving. The idea is that, by accepting a driver’s license in our state, every driver has already given his or her consent to these tests in advance. Refusal to cooperate results in an automatic suspension of driving privileges for at least one year.

Learn More from a Miami Accident Attorney

If you’ve suffered injury as a result of another driver’s intoxication, you deserve financial compensation to help you recover. When you work with Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, you can rest easy in knowing that an experienced Miami accident attorney is aggressively pursuing every penny you deserve.

Our firm is committed to holding drunk drivers accountable for their actions in the civil justice system. Contact us right away to learn more about how we can help you and your family.


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Photo Credit: Shrieking Tree cc

Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.