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Fort Myers DUI/DWI Law Blog

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.

How much does license reinstatement cost?

If you have had your driver's license suspended for driving under the influence or refusing to submit to a breath test, you may be experiencing all sorts of problems. If you live in Fort Myers, or another part in the state of Florida, you could be unable to get to work or take care of life's daily responsibilities (such as grocery shopping or picking up your children from school). As a result, it is important to understand what is required to reinstate your license and the fees you will have to pay.

Aside from finishing or enrolling in DUI school, you will be required to pay different fees to have your driver's license reinstated, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Drug and alcohol offenses result in a $130 administrative fee, which is on top of a $75 fee for a license revocation or a $45 fee for a license suspension. Additionally, DUI programs, which you need to enroll in or complete before your license can be reinstated, carry a $15 fee. If you need to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, you will have to pay a $12 fee as well.

Can authorities test my blood alcohol level if I am unconscious?

If you are accused of driving under the influence, your life may change in various ways. Aside from time behind bars and costly fines, having a DUI on your record could haunt you for years to come. The drunk driving laws in Fort Myers, and other parts of Florida, may be different in comparison to other states. As a result, it is crucial to find answers to any questions you have, such as whether or not law enforcement officials can measure your BAC level while you are unconscious.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, authorities are able to administer a blood test to determine your blood alcohol level if you have lost consciousness. In this state, you are not considered to have revoked your consent to a blood alcohol level test because you have lost consciousness or cannot refuse to be tested due to a physical or mental condition. If you find yourself in this position, law enforcement officials can administer a blood test without telling you that a refusal will cause your driving privileges to be suspended.

How to challenge field sobriety test results and other evidence of DUI

Imagine you are driving home after a late night celebrating with friends at a local bar. You've had a couple drinks but don't feel intoxicated. Still, you can get incredibly scared if you see the red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror.

In these situations, police often approach your car and immediately start looking for signs of suspicious behavior. These signs could be incredibly minor or subjective, so it is critical to remember that if you have been accused of drunk driving, you are innocent until proven guilty and you can challenge the observations and conclusions of the arresting officer.

How do I reinstate my license after a fourth DUI?

When it comes to drunk driving charges, there are a variety of factors that can affect your case and have an impact on the consequences you face. For example, if you have any previous DUIs in Fort Myers, or another part of the state, the repercussions could be more serious. In Florida, the penalties vary, depending on the number of DUIs on your record. If your driver's license has been revoked, daily life may be very difficult. Perhaps you are unable to get to work or take care of family-related responsibilities. As a result, it is important to familiarize yourself with the license reinstatement requirements.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a fourth DUI (or any additional DUIs thereafter) will result in a five-year license revocation period. You will not be able to receive a hardship license during this time frame. After five years, you can apply for a hardship license if you have completed any necessary treatment and DUI school. Furthermore, the Special Supervision Services Program must give you a recommendation. When you reinstate your license, you will need to pay a revocation reinstatement fee, license fee and administrative fee.

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