If you ever find yourself in a situation where you've been out drinking, the smart and safe thing to do would be not to get behind the wheel of a car. You've heard countless anecdotes and slogans on why you shouldn't drink and drive, but the real life consequences to drinking and driving in Orlando should be harsh enough to prevent someone from taking that risk. Orlando, Florida is particularly tough on DUI offenders, and has a number of penalties and stipulations that go along with the charge if convicted.
Tourists and out of towners have likely come across a number of police officers posted up throughout Orlando and the entire state of Florida attempting to catch people for traffic violations. The fact that it is such a tourist and party destination lends to the vigilance police and other law enforcement have to catch DUI offenders. The state ranks highly in terms of crashes that take place as a result of driving under the influence, which has caused law enforcement to enforce these penalties and seek drunk drivers with great effort.
The penalties that you will face as a result of a DUI offense depend on if you have ever been convicted of a related offense before. The legal blood alcohol content limit in Orlando and throughout the state of Florida is .08, meaning if your blood alcohol limit is over this number when taking a breathalyzer exam, you are subject to a DUI penalty. Those that blow higher on the scale can face even harsher penalties, regardless of how many, if any prior offenses they have had.
A first time offender over the legal limit but not in the extreme ranges can face up to a fine of $1,000, the suspension of a drivers license and 6 months in jail. If you blow a blood alcohol content in the upper ranges of .15 or more, you leave yourself open to a $2,000 fine and 9 months in jail.
For those that have been convicted of DUIs or related offenses in the past, the judge and court system will issue stiffer penalties. For instance, anyone with over two DUI offenses will be charged with a felony if convicted of another, which brings with it a mandatory stint in prison. At this point, the fines are also significantly more costly and your license will be taken for at least 5 years. Convicted felons are also subject to other penalties, including revocation of firearm rights, voter privileges and passports.
Outside of fines and jail times, DUIs are the type of penalty that you never want to have on your record. They can prevent you from getting jobs, financial aid and interfere with other situations that require a background check. DUIs stay on your criminal record for years and can easily be searched by someone with resources. This offense also does a number on your insurance premium, in some situations causing it to go up by three times the cost. It is also not unlikely for an insurance company to drop you from their coverage if you are convicted of a DUI offense.
This can wreak havoc on your work and personal life, since with a suspended license you will need to rely on friends, family and public transportation to get around. Even getting to and from work isn't a guarantee anymore, because the Florida courts require you to show proof of enrollment in a DUI class just to get a provision that allows you to travel for work. Depending on which offense this is for you, you may have to wait one to three months without a license to even be eligible for this work provision.
The bottom line is that you never want to have this on your record. But if you have been arrested and charged, all hope is not lost. Get in touch with a competent Orlando DUI lawyer that can help you fight the case with vigor.