Drunk Driving Accidents In Florida

Thousands of people die in alcohol-related car accidents every year in the United States. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010 there were 10,228 people killed by drunk drivers at or above the legal limit, and 660 of those deaths occurred in Florida. That year, of the 32,885 nationwide traffic fatalities, 31 percent involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above, and 5 percent involved a driver with a BAC between .01 and .07. If a drunk driver has injured you or killed your loved one, an experienced Sarasota injury attorney can help.

Florida Drunk Driving Laws

Drivers in Florida can be arrested for driving under the influence if they are found to be operating a motor vehicle while their normal faculties are impaired or their BAC is .08 or above. According to Department of Motor Vehicles records, there were 33,625 DUI convictions statewide in 2011. The penalties for a first-time DUI conviction in Florida include:

  • Fine of $500-$1,000
  • Fine of $1,000-$2,000 if the driver’s BAC was .15 or higher or there was a child in the vehicle
  • Mandatory 50 hours of community service
  • Up to one year of probation
  • Jail time of no more than six months
  • Jail time of no more than nine months, if the driver’s BAC was .15 or higher or there was a child in the vehicle
  • Vehicle impoundment for 10 days unless the defendant’s family has no other transportation
  • License suspension of 180 days to one year
  • DUI school

There are stiffer penalties for subsequent DUI convictions. Additionally, any person under age 21 who is caught driving with a BAC of .02 or above faces an automatic six-month license suspension for the first offense and a one-year license suspension for subsequent offenses.

How Florida’s New PIP Law Affects Victims of Drunk Driving

Florida requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection. Some important changes to Florida’s PIP law will be going into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. The new law will require persons injured in a car accident to seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident, and only those individuals deemed to have an immediate/emergency medical condition will be entitled to the full PIP coverage of $10,000; all others will be limited to $2,500. That means anyone injured in an alcohol-related car accident after Jan. 1, 2013, will need to seek medical attention within 14 days to ensure they can receive the full amount of PIP compensation available to them.

If you have been injured by a drunk driver or your family member was killed by one, you may be entitled to damages. To learn about your legal rights, contact a qualified Sarasota injury lawyer today.

Categories: Auto Accidents