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Can I Get a DUI in a Self-Driving Car?

Can I Get a DUI in a Self-Driving Car_lockett_blog

Can I Get a DUI in a Self-Driving Car?

Car technology has rapidly advanced in recent years. From all-wheel drive to anti-braking technology, the safety of automobiles has improved drastically and saved countless lives. Now, safety advocates and car manufacturers are hoping that self-driving cars will be the wave of the future. Self-driving cars operate by sensing the obstacles and cars around them and using state-of-the-art software to control, navigate and even drive the vehicle without human assistance. There are no fully autonomous vehicles on the road — yet. Currently, there are partially autonomous vehicles which require some human control. However, car manufacturers believe that fully-autonomous vehicles are just a few years away from going on sale.

The emergence of self-driving vehicles has many wondering how this affects liability and also drunk driving. If you’ve been drinking and are unable to drive, is operating a self-driving car a way to avoid drunk driving and DUI charges?

DUI Charges and Self Driving Cars

In the state of Florida, it is a crime to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you have a BAC of 0.08 or higher, you can be charged with DUI. When it comes to drunk driving, simply intending to operate the car is often enough to have you arrested and charged. An arrest for DUI requires probable cause. That means that if the arresting officer believes that you intended to drive drunk, then you could be arrested even if the car was not in motion at the time. For example, if you put the keys in the ignition and then passed out drunk, the officer may conclude that you were driving or intended to drive drunk before you passed out. Even if the officer didn’t believe you intended to drive drunk when you were passed out behind the wheel, if your keys are in your car and readily accessible, you are deemed to be in control of the car and subject to arrest.

For now, self-driving cars aren’t actually operator-less and because of this, you would still have to control the vehicle in some situations. Until there is no operator control at all, drivers still must be able to take control of the vehicle in emergency situations. As a result, you could still face DUI charges even in a self-driving car.

Penalties for DUI in Florida

If you are arrested for DUI in Florida, even if you’re in a self-driving car, you may face the following penalties and consequences:

  • Up to $1000 in fines
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • The loss of your driver’s license for up to 6 months
  • Fifty hours of community service
  • Probation for up to a year

The penalties for second and third DUI offenses escalate drastically. For subsequent DUIs, you could face fines as high as $4,000 with mandatory jail time and the loss of your driver’s license for up to 10 years.

Subsequent DUI charges after the third arrest will result in third-degree felony convictions.

Have You Been Charged with a DUI in Jacksonville?

At Lockett Law, our Jacksonville DUI defense attorneys know that one DUI can significantly affect your entire life. In a moment’s notice, you could be facing time behind bars, as well as the loss of your driver’s license. You may lose your job, your friends, and your reputation because of one bad decision. At Lockett Law, our attorneys fight aggressively for individuals who’ve been charged with DUI. Call us today at (904) 667-0671 or fill out our confidential contact form.

Additional Reading

Challenging the Breathalyzer

DUI Appeals