What counts as drunk driving in Florida?

No one intends to get behind the wheel while highly intoxicated, or even just slightly buzzed, and put others’ lives at risk. Alcohol, however, impairs judgment so that people make unintentional mistakes that can end in criminal charges.

The best way to avoid finding yourself in this situation is understanding what counts as drunk driving in Florida.

Alcohol content

The basic law in Florida is that your breath or blood alcohol content cannot be higher than 0.08 percent. If it is at or above that number, you will face DUI charges. That percentage may seem high, but you can reach that level more quickly than you realize. Factors such as your sex, size, health and food consumption all play a role in how fast you metabolize alcohol.

Impairment

However, you do not have to be at 0.08 percent for the police to pull you over and arrest you for drunk driving. You can get a DUI if you show any sign of impairment, even if you are under the limit. Typically, it only takes 0.05 percent for alcohol to start impairing your cognitive and physical abilities. Even one drink can begin to have an effect if you are a small person who does not consume alcohol often. The bottom line is not to assume that you are fine after a few alcoholic beverages. Too many factors are involved that can make you intoxicated before you know it.

Driving

The term “drunk driving” implies driving, but your vehicle does not have to be in motion. The law also covers being in physical control of your car, meaning that the possibility of driving (or having driven) under the influence is present. For example, if you are parked but your vehicle is functioning, and you have the keys, the police may argue that you had been driving drunk prior or had the intent to drive drunk. This approach is harder to prove, however, and may be easier for you to get out of than a straightforward DUI.

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