Understanding Florida’s per se DUI laws

| Jun 11, 2019 | Firm News

Whether you are a native of Florida, you have retired here or you are visiting for vacation, you are probably well aware of the many opportunities for having a good time. You may prefer relaxing with a few friends and a bottle of wine or a more boisterous affair with loud music and a keg of beer.

No matter the path you take to get to your state of relaxation and fun, it is important to keep in mind the laws related to alcohol and operating a motor vehicle. You may feel like you are in perfect control of your car after a few drinks, but if your blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher, the law says you are legally impaired.

Per se laws trump other evidence

Police need probable cause to pull you over under suspicion of drunk driving. Since an impaired driver can cause untold tragedy if an accident occurs, it does not take much to alert an officer that you may have been drinking before getting behind the wheel. On the other hand, police may pull you over on an unrelated matter and smell alcohol on your breath, prompting a series of tests to prove you are impaired.

You may have given police no other reason to suspect you of drunk driving. You may even pass the roadside sobriety tests with flying colors. However, if a blood or breath test shows that your BAC is .08, police do not need to prove any other signs of impairment. The law says you are intoxicated.

Passing your BAC test

Everyone’s body reacts differently to the effects of alcohol. Many factors can determine how much or how quickly alcohol will affect your behavior and reactions. Therefore, if you are unable to walk a straight line or adequately perform other roadside sobriety tests, police will likely arrest you even if your BAC is below the legal limit of .08.

While it may seem like the advantages are all on the side of police, your attorney will know how to challenge the evidence against you. This may include questioning the maintenance and calibration of the devices that tested your BAC or seeking to exclude the subjective results of a field sobriety test. A DUI conviction can be a difficult barrier to overcome, so you will want to understand every alternative for avoiding a conviction.