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Frequently Asked Questions About DUIs Dec. 22, 2023

Driving Under the Influence Law BookAt, we often encounter a series of questions related to DUI charges. We understand that such charges can be overwhelming and confusing, so we've put together this comprehensive guide to answer your most pressing questions. 

What Is Considered Drunk Driving in Florida? 

In Florida, drunk driving isn't as straightforward as it may seem. The law states that if you're in actual physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, you're considered to be driving under the influence. This holds true even if you're not actively driving; being in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition can count as "actual physical control." If you're operating a commercial vehicle, the BAC threshold is lower, at 0.04%. 

What Are the Consequences of a DUI in Florida? 

Your consequences will depend on a variety of factors, such as the severity of the offense and your driving record:

  • For a first-time DUI offense, you could face a fine of up to $1,000, spend up to six months in jail or treatment, and lose your license for up to one year. Additionally, there's the possibility of your vehicle being impounded and having to complete community service hours. It's worth noting that these penalties can vary based on the specifics of your case, such as your BAC level at the time of arrest or whether there was a minor in the vehicle. 

  • If you're charged with a second DUI offense in Florida, the penalties increase significantly. You might be required to pay a fine of up to $2,000, spend up to nine months in jail, and lose your license for up to five years. Your vehicle could also be impounded for 30 days. These penalties underscore the seriousness of repeat offenses and the state's commitment to curbing drunk driving. 

  • A third DUI offense in Florida is even more severe. The maximum fine increases to $5,000, and you could face up to five years in prison. Your driver's license could be suspended for a decade, and your vehicle could be impounded for 90 days. It's clear that the state of Florida takes repeat DUI offenses very seriously, with harsher penalties designed to deter drivers from making the same mistake again. 

  • A fourth offense DUI in Florida carries the most severe consequences. You'll be required to pay at least $2,000 in fines and potentially spend up to five years in prison. Furthermore, your driver's license could be revoked for life, emphasizing the severity and long-term implications of repeated DUI offenses. 

What Are the Potential Penalties for Driving Under the Influence With a Minor in the Vehicle? 

Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle is seen as particularly egregious in Florida. If you're arrested for this offense, expect the penalties to be enhanced. While the specific consequences can vary, they often include increased fines, longer jail sentences, and extended license suspensions. 

Do I Need to Be Driving to Get a DUI in Florida? 

No, you don't necessarily have to be physically driving your car to get charged with a DUI in Florida. The law considers it enough to be in "actual physical control" of the vehicle while intoxicated. This means if you're in the driver's seat and have the keys within reach, you could still face DUI charges, even if your vehicle isn't moving.  

Can I Get My DUI Charge Expunged From My Record in Florida? 

In Florida, it's generally quite challenging to get a DUI conviction expunged from your record. Typically, the law doesn't allow for this. However, every case is unique, and there might be specific circumstances that could permit some form of record sealing or expungement. Consult with an attorney to understand the specifics of your case and explore any potential options. 

What Are Some Common Defenses to DUI Charges? 

Your defense will be shaped around the specific circumstances of your case. To get an idea of what may apply to your situation, consider these common defense strategies: 

  1. Challenging the Accuracy of BAC Test Results: The results of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test aren't always foolproof. We can scrutinize these results for any inconsistencies or errors. 

  1. Questioning the Legality of the Traffic Stop or Arrest: If the traffic stop or arrest wasn't conducted legally, we might be able to challenge its validity. 

  1. Disputing the Reliability of Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests aren’t always reliable indicators of impairment. We can contest their reliability based on various factors. 

  1. Examining Breathalyzer Machine Records: The maintenance and calibration records of breathalyzer machines can sometimes reveal errors. We'll dig into these records to ensure they're up to standard. 

  1. Challenging Officer's Observations and Testimony: The arresting officer's observations and testimony play a crucial role in a DUI case. We can challenge their credibility if needed. 

  1. Presenting Medical Conditions or Medications: Certain medical conditions or medications can affect BAC results. If applicable, we can present this as a defense. 

  1. Raising Procedural Errors or Rights Violations: If your rights were violated or there were errors in the procedure followed,  we might be able to challenge these incidents.

Why Should I Hire a DUI Attorney? 

Hiring a DUI defense attorney is crucial if you want to protect your rights and navigate the complex legal system. An experienced lawyer like Jeffery Higgins can analyze the details of your case, challenge evidence, negotiate with prosecutors, and strive to achieve the best possible outcome. This can potentially minimize penalties and preserve your future opportunities. 

If you're facing DUI charges in Florida, don't hesitate to reach out to us at We're committed to providing vigorous defense for our clients, and we'll stop at nothing to fight for your rights.  

Here at, we're proud to serve our local community in a number of areas. Our criminal defense services span across Daytona Beach, reaching out to folks in DeLand, Port Orange, and New Smyrna Beach. We're not just confined to the beaches, though. We represent the residents of Palm Coast, as well as those living in the wider regions of Volusia County and Flagler County.