There are 3 different alcohol limits that apply to Florida drivers

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2023 | DUI Defense

It is illegal to drive when someone has consumed a large amount of alcohol or any controlled substances that affect driving ability. Alcohol is legal and readily available, and many people think nothing of having a few drinks at happy hour on the way home from work.

Particularly when people regularly enjoy alcoholic beverages, they may overestimate their alcohol tolerance or underestimate their level of impairment at the wheel. Even if someone appears to drive in a totally normal fashion, a police officer could still arrest them for a driving under the influence (DUI) offense.

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit can lead to arrest and prosecution even if someone can drive safely in that condition. Florida drivers need to know which of the three BAC limits apply to them when they are on the road.

Why are there three different limits?

There are a variety of factors that influence the likelihood of an alcohol-related crash. Someone’s experience at the wheel is often a major consideration. Therefore, adults who have had years of practice driving our subject to the most lenient BAC limit under Florida law.

Those over the age of 21 driving standard passenger vehicles are only at risk of arrest for a DUI if they display obvious impairment or their BAC reaches 0.08% or above. For most people, that would mean consuming multiple drinks in a short amount of time.

The difficulty managing a vehicle can also contribute to crash risk, which is why those controlling commercial vehicles are subject to a stricter limit. Minor delays in reaction time could make all the difference when someone with alcohol in their bloodstream operates a semi-truck. Those operating commercial vehicles are subject to a 0.04% BAC limit.

Young adults generally have little experience at the wheel. Additionally, they are too young to legally consume alcohol. Therefore, Florida imposes a zero-tolerance policy for minors driving motor vehicles. Someone under the age of 21 could get arrested for a drunk driving offense with a BAC of just 0.02%. That might mean an arrest after a single drink in some cases.

Simply proving that the alcohol wasn’t sufficient to affect someone’s driving will not protect them from a conviction if the state has evidence that they were over the BAC limit that applies in their case. However, there are other defense strategies that could work. People can raise questions about the accuracy of tests or about the legality of a traffic stop.

Ultimately, seeking legal guidance and learning the basics of Florida’s DUI laws may benefit those who regularly drink or who have recently been arrested.