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Florida Drunk Driving Laws

Florida

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Florida?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In Florida, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or more.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Florida

  • Punishment for first-time offenders is a term of imprisonment of up to six months and a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000. First-time offenders will also be placed on probation for up to one year. As a condition of probation, the offender must participate in a public service or community work project for a minimum of 50 hours. The judge may, however, order payment of an additional fine of $10 for each hour of public service or community work required if payment of the fine is in the best interests of the State of Florida. The total period of probation and incarceration cannot be more than one year. As a condition of probation, the vehicle the offender was operating at the time of the offense (or any vehicle registered in the offender’s name at the time of impoundment) will be impounded for 10 days. The driver’s license revocation period is 180 days to one year.
  • Second-time offenders face a term of imprisonment of up to nine months. They must also pay a fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. If the second conviction occurred within five years of the first, driving privileges will be revoked for at least five years. Following incarceration and expiration of the driver’s license revocation period, these offenders must place an ignition interlock device on all vehicles they own, lease, or routinely operate for at least one year.
  • A third-time offender who is convicted within 10 years of the second conviction commits a felony of the third degree and faces up to 5 years in prison. These offenders must also pay a fine of up to $5,000. The driver’s license revocation period is at least 10 years. Following incarceration and expiration of the driver’s license revocation period, these offenders are required to place an ignition interlock device on all vehicles they own, lease, or routinely operate for at least two years.
  • For a third conviction that occurs more than 10 years after the date of a prior conviction, the term of imprisonment is up to 12 months, and the fine ranges from $2,000 to $2,500. A judge will determine how long the offender’s license will be revoked. Following incarceration and expiration of their driver’s license revocation period, these offenders are required to place an ignition interlock device on all vehicles they own, lease, or routinely operate for at least two years.
  • On a fourth or subsequent conviction, regardless of when the offense occurred, the term of imprisonment is up to 5 years and the fine is up to $5,000. Fines imposed for fourth and subsequent violations, however, cannot be less than $2,000. The offender’s driver’s license will be permanently revoked.
  • All persons convicted of DUI will be placed on monthly reporting probation and must complete a substance abuse course, which includes a psychosocial evaluation.

Enhanced Penalties for Drunk Drivers Carrying Passengers Under 18

If a person commits a DUI while someone under 18 was in the vehicle, DUI penalties are enhanced. First-time offenders face a term of imprisonment of up to nine months and a fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. They must also place an ignition interlock device on all vehicles they own, lease, or routinely operate for up to six months. Those who violate this law a second time, face a prison term of up to 12 months and a fine ranging from $2,000 to $4,000. They must also place an ignition interlock device on all vehicles they own, lease, or routinely operate for at least two years. Third, and subsequent, convictions carry a fine of at least $4,000.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with Florida’s DUI laws, a commercial driver who is convicted of DUI while operating a commercial vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If, however, the offender was transporting hazardous materials at the time, he or she will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for three years. If a commercial driver commits a second DUI while driving a commercial vehicle, the offender will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life.

Drivers Under 21

In addition to other penalties that may apply, a driver under 21 who commits a DUI with a BAC of .02 or higher will receive a six-month suspension for a first conviction and a one-year suspension for a second or subsequent conviction. In cases where the driver’s BAC was .05 or more, the driver will be required to complete a substance abuse course, which includes a substance abuse evaluation. Parents of drivers under 19 will be notified of the results of the evaluation. A driver under 21 can be prosecuted and punished under the DUI laws that are applied to adults.

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What is Florida’s Dram Shop Act?

Under Florida law, a drinking establishment that willingly serves alcohol to a person under 21 or that knowingly sells alcohol to a person who is habitually addicted to liquor may become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of the minor or habitual drunkard.

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What is Florida’s “Open House Party” Statute?

This statute prohibits anyone 18 or older from having a party at their residence and knowingly permitting a person under 21 to have or to drink alcohol. Violators of this statute face up to 60 days in prison. Under this statute, a person can avoid criminal liability by ending the party or taking some other reasonable action to prevent a person under 21 from having or drinking alcohol. Florida courts have held that this statute imposes a duty of care on social hosts and creates a civil action when violated.

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Criminal Penalties for Selling, Giving, or Serving Alcohol to a Person Under 21

In Florida, it is a crime to sell or furnish alcohol to a person under 21. Anyone who violates this law faces six months in prison and/or up to a $500 fine. Offenders who are not licensed to sell alcohol also face a driver’s license suspension of three to six months for the first violation and one year for any subsequent violation.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

Please note: All of our lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. We also have lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, and West Virginia and we associate with experienced attorneys in other states.

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