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Fort Myers DUI/DWI Law Blog

How is reckless driving defined?

As a driver in Florida, you may be aware of the fact that reckless drivers can make the roads more dangerous. Not only is it threatening to other drivers on the road, but a reckless driver could end up with fines or even jail time, while sufferers deal with medical issues and high bills. But what sort of actions are actually considered to be reckless driving?

According to the Florida Legislature, many behaviors and actions can be considered part of the umbrella of reckless driving. This includes fleeing from law enforcement, driving while intoxicated, or even driving aggressively while sober. In order for driving behavior to be considered reckless, there has to be a “willful or wanton disregard” for either the people or the property around the driver. This is obviously a very wide definition, as it is meant to catch many different types of dangerous behavior on the road.

What are my rights at DUI checkpoints?

DUI checkpoints are random roadblocks positioned at places where police officers stop vehicles to check for evidence of DUI. These sobriety checkpoints are often set up in areas near drinking establishments or at main intersections, but are not permanent roadblocks. The state of Florida allows these stops under the federal Constitution and you are required to stop at these checkpoints. However, police officers are also subject to laws when they stop you.

Alcohol and your body

Residents of Florida may indulge in a few drinks here and there, but many don’t understand the exact effects that alcohol can have on their body. Drivers often believe that they have more control over themselves than they really do after even just one or two drinks. This can lead to dangerous or even fatal accidents.

The DUI Journal has compiled a list of the most common physical and mental effects that a person could face after imbibing alcohol. This includes:

  •          Lowered reaction times
  •          Decreased coordination
  •          Hard time understanding simple directions
  •          Mood swings and aggression

Injuries from DUI crashes that have life-long effects

While on the road, Florida drivers keep their eyes peeled for erratic behavior that could signify someone else is driving while under the influence. DUI-related accidents can be detrimental to a driver’s mental and physical well-being in many ways, so avoidance is key.

As stated by Spine-health, many people who get into severe DUI-related accidents can face chronic pain of varying levels that can last anywhere from weeks to years. This can manifest in low-grade aches all the way up to crippling or debilitating pain in any part of the body. Neck and shoulder pains are the most common, though sufferers can also develop issues anywhere that caught the brunt of the force during the crash. Migraines are also a common side-effect and can last either a short period of time, or indefinitely.

What do DUI statistics show about drunk driving?

As a resident of Florida, you may sometimes find yourself wondering just what your chances of getting into an accident are. With the amount of dangers present on the road and issues like distracted and drunk driving making headlines daily, going out for a drive can seem like a dangerous task sometimes.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, statistics reveal a lot about the arrests and accidents related to drunk driving. First, they show that many people arrested for DUI charges are not driving while impaired for the first time. Many have simply not been caught before, which allows them to feel “safe” or confident in their ability to drive properly even while under the influence.

What telltale signs give away drunk drivers?

As a driver in Florida, you share the road with many people. Most are responsible, but you should always keep your guard up and your eyes peeled for signs of the ones who aren’t. Fortunately for you, drunk drivers can sometimes be easy to pick out.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving lists methods of picking out a drunk driver on the road so you can avoid them and report them to the appropriate authorities. Some of the major signs could also be considered distracted driving, which overlaps with texting while driving or multitasking in other ways. This includes:

  •          Swerving
  •          Missing signals, turns or stop signs
  •          Ignoring or not seeing the center line
  •          Nearly hitting other vehicles or objects

Common officer mistakes in DUI arrests

You're innocent until proven guilty, always.

That means that if you contest a DUI in court, the burden of proof is to prove you guilty, not for you to defend yourself. When charged with a DUI, many people think there's no use in denying the Breathalyzer, that if it was on your breath you were guilty of the crime.

Being pulled over is stressful. Nerves may have affected a field sobriety test and speech patterns, and Breathalyzers aren't 100% accurate. Even an accent or speech impediment can be mistaken as slurred speech.

College students and underage DUI

Drunk driving charges can shatter anyone's life, but they may be especially problematic if you are a college student or the parent of someone attending college. At the Fort Myers, Florida law firm of Steven Wetter, we understand the multitude of ways that DUI charges impact a college student's life. If you are a young person who has been accused of driving under the influence, you should take every step to protect your future.

From peer pressure to a misguided one-off decision, there are many factors that play a role in underage drinking. Moreover, drivers who have not yet reached the age where they can drink legally may not realize how strict DUI laws are for drivers who are under 21. In fact, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles states that law enforcement officials can detain a driver who is under 21 for having any amount of alcohol in their system.

You don't have to be driving to get a DUI

As an experienced driver you might recognize when it is best to pull over and take a nap. You started to drive home only to realize that you drank one too many and it is safer to take a rest. Although it sounds like a smart decision it is possible to get a DUI charge while asleep in your front seat.

Under Florida state law it is possible to be sitting in your vehicle's front seat with the keys in your pocket and still be charged with an actual control DUI. An actual control DUI is the term used for a person who is physically inside a vehicle with the ability to operate it. The reasoning is that said person has the capability to turn the vehicle on and drive it while intoxicated.

A closer look at ignition interlock devices

If you are charged with drunk driving, you could face many different challenges, such as license suspension and job loss. However, these charges could affect your life in many other ways. For example, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. If you have found yourself in this position in Fort Myers, or another city in Florida, it is important to familiarize yourself with ignition interlock requirements in this state.

According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, state law requires some Floridians to have ignition interlock devices installed in their cars. Although these devices are funded by users, the court may use some of the funds from the fine you paid to cover the cost of installation if they find that you cannot cover the costs yourself. Additionally, if you are required to use an ignition interlock device, you will need to get in touch with an approved vendor.

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