Is There a Difference Between a DUI and DWI in Florida?
In the state of Florida, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense and one that can follow you throughout your life. Legally, and most commonly known as DUI in Florida, Driving Under the Influence may also referred to as Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), although this is not the legal term in Florida. While some states have separate DWAI, DWI and DUI laws, in Florida these terms are used interchangeably. If you are arrested and suspected of drunk or drugged driving, the police will arrest you and charge you with DUI under Florida Statutes § 316.193.
Other states have differing penalties for DWAI or DWI as opposed to DUI. In a state that recognizes DWI, that is usually the more serious charge, such as New York. There are exceptions though, in Minnesota DWI is the only charge for driving drunk and there is no serious or less serious offense. In states where DWAI is an offense, it is usually the less serious charge, like in Colorado where a DWAI is reserved for those who are “impaired to the slightest degree” as opposed to “substantially impaired” for a DUI. Some states even use the termsOUI (Operating Under the Influence) or Operating a Vehicle while Impaired to describe someone who is driving intoxicated.
No matter where you live or what it’s called, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the designated legal limit is a crime and will result in serious penalties and consequences.
Consequences for DUI in Florida
Florida has harsh penalties when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For example, a first time DUI conviction results in the loss of your driver’s license for six months. This can adversely affect your entire life and make it difficult to spend time with your family and friends, maintain employment, and attend school. While first time offenders are allowed to apply for a hardship license, it is not guaranteed that the courts will grant this.
If you are arrested for a second or third DUI conviction, the consequences you face will depend on how much time has passed between DUI convictions, as well as your BAC limit at the time of your arrest. You could face the loss of your driver’s license for up to 10 years with little to no hardship license eligibility. You could even face a felony conviction or time in prison if you injured someone while intoxicated.
Even if you obtain a hardship license, having a DUI on your record can follow you throughout your life. In some cases, it can prevent you from obtaining valuable employment, especially if that employment requires you to drive as part of your job. Delivery workers, truck drivers, Uber drivers, and taxi drivers can all find themselves unemployed and unemployable after a DUI conviction. Due to the severity of DUI penalties and consequences, it is important to fight these serious charges and protect your driving record from the start. Your lawyer can help you avoid a DUI conviction and safeguard your future.
Have You Been Charged with a DUI in Jacksonville?
At Lockett Law, our Jacksonville DUI defense attorneys are ready to fight aggressively for you after a DUI arrest. We know that a DUI conviction can follow you throughout your life and we work tirelessly to keep these charges off of your driving record. Without a lawyer on your side, you could face the loss of your driver’s license, increased insurance premiums, and more. Yet, there are ways you can fight these serious charges and win! Call us today at (904) 447-8950.
You can also simply contact us online by filling out our confidential contact form. We can help you fight Florida DUI charges and protect your future.