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Can I Get Charged With DUI in Florida If I Blow Under the Legal Limit?

man blowing into a breathalyzer from the seat of his car to get his blood alcohol content level.

What happens if your blood alcohol content level is under 0.08?

The sight of red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror and the sound of police sirens can be an upsetting experience for any driver. However, if you've consumed alcohol, the gravity of the situation intensifies. Despite a legal blood alcohol limit of .08 in Florida, motorists who register below this threshold can still face arrest and charges for driving under the influence of alcohol.

In Florida, the law states that someone can be charged with DUI if they are under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances "to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired." In short, that means if a police officer determines you are too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle safely, you could be arrested for DUI, even if you blow under a .08 on a breathalyzer test.

Unfortunately, this makes DUI charges highly subjective, as the officer who pulls you over is the one who decides whether or not you should be charged with DUI. This means that an officer has the discretionary authority to arrest you if they believe you are intoxicated to the point of endangering yourself or others.

How could you still be charged with DUI if you're under the legal limit?

There are several reasons why you could be charged with DUI even if your BAC was less than the legal limit of .08, including:

  • A police officer suspects that your normal faculties are impaired.
  • You were unable to pass a field sobriety test.
  • A police officer suspects you are under the influence of illegal drugs.
  • You appear to be intoxicated.

Common signs of alcohol consumption include bloodshot or watery eyes, a flushed face, slurred speech, or an odor of alcohol. Other things a police officer may look for to establish "reasonable suspicion" include difficulty exiting the vehicle if asked to do so, fumbling with your driver's license or registration, repeating questions or comments, swaying while walking or standing still, an aggressive attitude, and an inability to follow directions.

Florida DUI penalties

In Florida, the consequences for a DUI charge can range widely depending on the number of prior convictions and the blood alcohol content (BAC) level of the offender.

For first-time offenders, the potential consequences of a DUI conviction include, but are not limited to:

  • Driver's license suspension or revocation for up to one year.
  • Completion of a state-mandated DUI program.
  • Community service.
  • A jail sentence of up to six months.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender's vehicle.
  • Probation.
  • Vehicle impoundment.
  • Fines of up to $1,000.

For second-time offenders, the consequences may include:

  • Driver's license suspension or revocation for up to one year or up to five years if the second offense occurs within five years of the first.
  • Completion of a state-mandated DUI program.
  • Fines of up to $1,000.
  • An enhanced jail sentence.

It is important to note that the penalties for DUI become increasingly severe with each subsequent offense. If you have been charged with a DUI in northeast Florida, taking the necessary steps to protect your rights and minimize the potential consequences is crucial.

One of the best ways to do this is by seeking the legal guidance of an experienced DUI defense attorney. A DUI attorney can help you understand the charges against you and develop a strategy to defend your case.

Don't take any chances with your future - contact a Clay County DUI attorney today.

Facing a DUI charge can have far-reaching consequences, from fines and jail time to losing employment and creating a criminal record. These charges require the knowledge and experience of a DUI defense attorney who understands the criminal justice system in northeast Florida.

At Aguilar & Sieron, P.A., our northeast Florida DUI defense attorney is dedicated to providing professional and compassionate representation to those facing criminal charges. Whether you are facing a DUI, drug charges, or any other criminal case, attorney Mark Sieron is committed to fighting for your rights.

With extensive knowledge of the criminal justice system in Clay County, Duval County, and throughout northeast Florida, our law firm is well-equipped to provide you with the representation you need. Contact Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. in Green Cove Springs today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help protect your rights and future.

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