At Flaxman Law Group, our Hollywood DUI accident injury attorneys see the impact of car accidents caused by drunk drivers every day. We have represented clients who have suffered permanent injuries as a result of a drunk driver, and who have had their lives forever changed.
Since DUIs continue to have such an impact on our communities, our team at Flaxman Law Group has put together this FAQ to help you get answers. If you have been injured and would like to speak to a Hollywood or South Florida DUI injury attorney, you can also call Flaxman Law Group at 866-352-9626 to schedule a FREE consultation.
- What is a DUI?
- What is a DWI?
- What Are the Laws About DUI in Florida?
- What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Florida?
- What Kinds of Injuries Do DUI Accidents Cause?
- What Should I Do If I Suspect My Car Accident Was Caused by a Drunk Driver?
- What Should I Do If I’m Accused of Driving Under the Influence?
- What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect If I’m Injured by a Drunk Driver?
DUI stands for "driving under the influence." It can refer to driving after drinking or using a controlled substance. When drivers are impaired, their response times are slowed down and they can make mistakes on the road that lead to injuries and car accidents.
A DUI is a crime with serious penalties in Florida.
What is a DWI?
Sometimes, people refer to a DWI, which means “driving while intoxicated.” In some states, there are subtle differences between the two terms. Under Florida law, DUI is the term used.
What Are the Laws About DUI in Florida?
In Florida, you can face penalties for driving under the influence if you have taken enough alcohol or chemical substances to impair your normal functioning. If you have been drinking, you are driving under the influence if you have a breath alcohol or blood alcohol level (BAL) of 0.08 or higher. This level can be measured with a breath test or blood test.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Florida?
Under Florida Statutes, section 316.193, the first time someone is convicted of a DUI they can face fines of $500-1000 and up to six months imprisonment or even fines of $1000-2000 and up to nine months imprisonment if there was a minor in the car or the BAL was at least .15. The driver’s car may also be impounded for ten days. A driver will also have their license taken away for at least 180 days revocation and for up to one year. If the first DUI causes injury, the license will be revoked for at least three years.
For a second DUI conviction, a driver can face fines of $1000-2000 and up to nine months of imprisonment or fines of $2000-4000 and up to twelve months of imprisonment if there was a minor in the car or the BAL was at least .15. If a second DUI took place within five years of the first, the driver will spend at least 10 days imprisoned, and 48 hours of this must be consecutive, and they may have their car impounded for 30 days as well as face losing their license for five years.
If within ten years a driver has a third DUI conviction, they can face fines of $2000-5000 or fines of more than $4000 if there was a minor in the car or the BAL was at least .15. The driver also must serve a sentence of 30 days or more imprisonment, and at least 48 hours of this must be consecutive. Their car may also be impounded for 90 days, and they may lose their license for ten years or more.
If a motorist gets a DUI ten years or more after their last DUI, they can face fines of $2000-$5000 or more than $4000 if there was a minor in the car or the BAL was at least .15. They also face up to 12 months in jail.
For subsequent DUI convictions, drivers face fines of over $2000, or over $4000 if there was a minor in the car or the BAL was at least .15. They may also face up to five years imprisonment.
In addition to these penalties, drivers may need to go to DUI school, where they learn the dangers of drinking and driving. They may also face civil penalties. Drivers do have a chance to appeal and even if they have lost their license, they can seek to have it reinstated after some time if they can prove lack of a license is causing undue hardship.
If a driver injures someone while driving under the influence, they may be guilty of a third-degree felony. If they kill someone, they may be convicted of DUI manslaughter or vehicular homicide. This can lead up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Sentencing depends on many factors, including a defendant’s past record and whether they caused an accident leading to injury. Some prison time may be completed in addiction treatment and factors such as a defendant’s personal obligations and their willingness to change are also considered. Having an experienced defense attorney can help an accused driver get as second chance.
What Kinds of Injuries Do DUI Accidents Cause?
Because drivers under the influence of alcohol and other substances may have slower response times, they may not be able to take effective action to avoid an accident or even reduce the impact. This means that the injuries sustained in DUI/DWI accidents can be serious and can include the following.
- Crushing injuries
- Whiplash and soft tissue injuries
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
What Should I Do If I Suspect My Car Accident Was Caused by a Drunk Driver?
Driving under the influence is crime. If you have been in a car accident and believe the other driver may be under the influence, contact police. Law enforcement can stop the impaired driver from potentially harming others, and they can file charges against them, if appropriate. It’s also important to get evidence of drunk driving if you’ve been injured and want to seek compensation. Police can administer a blood alcohol or breathalyser test and can create a report which can prove the driver was above the legal alcohol limit. The concentration of alcohol in the driver’s system will decrease with time, so it’s important for police to be alerted so they can test the motorist quickly.
If you have been injured, you may also want to contact a DUI accident injury attorney in Hollywood or your community. An attorney can start taking steps to gather evidence and can help you navigate the legal system if you decide to file a legal claim.
What Should I Do If I’m Accused of Driving Under the Influence?
Since the consequences for a DUI are significant, you will want to contact a Hollywood defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you protect your privilege to drive so you can continue to work and can work to get you a second chance.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect If I’m Injured by a Drunk Driver?
If you’re injured by a drunk driver, you may have a civil claim. No matter what the outcome with the driver’s criminal DUI charges, your civil suit is separate. You can seek compensation for all your damages, which can include car repairs, property replacement or repairs, medical bills, lost time at work, and any other losses you have suffered. The exact amount you may be eligible for will depend on the specifics of your situation, including how seriously you have been injured. If you think you may have a case and are wondering how much your claim may be worth, contact a Hollywood DUI injury attorney to get specific information about what might be possible in your claim.
Have you been injured by a drunk driver and have some additional questions? Feel free to contact Flaxman Law Group today. Contact us online or call us at 866-352-9626 to set up a FREE consultation with a DUI injury claims attorney at our conveniently located Miami, Homestead, or Hollywood offices. If you cannot come to our offices because of your injury, we may be able to meet in your home, workplace, or hospital room. No matter where you are in South Florida, we’re here to get you answers about your potential injury claim and there is no obligation with your first, free consultation. You risk nothing by getting the answers you deserve.