Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in the state of Florida. You may have heard the terms DUI and DWI used interchangeably, but the result is the same: steep consequences. If you have been pulled over or charged with driving under the influence, it is important to speak with the best DWI attorneys in Clearwater. It is also important to understand the difference between a DUI and DWI and what the possible consequences are if you are charged and found guilty.
Definitions of DUI and DWI in Florida
The state of Florida statutes chapter 316.193 states the following:
(1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:
(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;
(b) The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
(c) The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
In the state of Florida, driving while intoxicated, or DWI, is used interchangeably with the term driving under the influence, or DUI. Although other states have different penalties for DWI and DUI, the state of Florida does not make a distinction between the two.
Consequences of DUI or DWI
The consequences of a DUI or DWI are steep in Florida. If convicted, first-time offenders face a fine between $500 and $1000 and imprisonment of up to 6 months. A second conviction may result in a 9 month imprisonment and $2000 fine as well as mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device at the convicted person’s expense. A third offense within 10 years is a felony of the third degree, which is punishable with more extensive imprisonment and fines. Further, whether it is the first offense or any subsequent offenses, your driver’s license will suspended or revoked if convicted.
What You Should Do If Arrested for DUI/DWI
If you are pulled over or arrested for the DUI or DWI, contact the top DWI lawyers in Clearwater at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible and to refrain from speaking to the police without a lawyer present. Your attorney will discuss your legal rights and help craft a defense, work on any potential plea bargains available, and will walk you through every step of the way.