Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) both refer to the act of operating a motor vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft while physically impaired by the effects of alcohol and/or drugs. Any person who is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence, who operates a motor vehicle and who by reason of such operation causes damage to the property or person of another is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. This violation of the law usually has harsh consequences, including significant fines, driver’s license suspension, alcohol treatment courses, or imprisonment. Generally, the court must permanently revoke the driver’s license or driving privileges of a person who has been convicted four times for driving under the influence. Permanent suspension of a defendant’s driving privileges is not considered a criminal punishment. Anyone who drives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causes serious bodily injury to another is guilty of a felony of the third degree. Driving under the influence is ONLY a misdemeanor if nobody gets hurt.

How is a DUI/DWI determined?

  • Driving with a blood alcohol level over the state's maximum permissible blood alcohol limit (the legal limit for adults is 0.08%).
  • Driving when you are physically impaired by drugs. If taking a drug impacts your senses of vision, hearing, talking, walking and/or judging distances, you may be guilty of a DWI.
  • Common tests for DUI/DWI include a breath test (breathalyzer), blood test, and urine test.

What are the conditions for release of someone arrested for DUI?

According to Florida Law, in order to be released after being arrested for DUI, you must be:

  • No longer under the influence
  • Your normal faculties are no longer impaired
  • Your blood and breath alcohol level must be lower than .05
  • 8 hours have elapsed from the time of arrest

Penalties for a DUI/DWI

DUI/DWI offenses are taken very seriously in Broward County. Penalties for a DUI offense can include the following:

  • A fine of at least $500
  • License suspension or restriction
  • Attendance at a drunk driving education course
  • Probation (typically three years)
  • Imprisonment
  • Community service
  • Impounding of the vehicle
  • Ignition interlock devices - to start a car, the driver must blow into the analyzer. If the breath test shows the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) meets or exceeds the legal limit for driving, the car will not start.
  • High insurance cost
  • Loss of a job that requires driving

Have you been charged with a DUI/DWI or been involved in a DUI accident?

If you have been charged and/or arrested in Broward County for a DUI or DWI, you should contact an experienced attorney immediately to learn more about your rights and defenses, especially if you believe you have been charged unfairly or without due process.