West Florida leads South Florida when it comes to DUI convictions
When you think of South Florida, partying and sunshine are usually among the top images that come to mind. Fun can quickly become tragedy however and thoughts of the fast life in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties are often followed by drinking and driving.
Surprisingly though, South Florida is not the leader when it comes to DUI convictions. Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa and St. Petersburg, leads Florida for DUI convictions. One news outlet says 1,631 people were arrested in Hillsborough County in 2018 for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and 2019 is pace to break that record.
DUI arrests in South Florida have dropped by 65 percent. According to the Miami Herald, Miami-Dade police arrested more than 1,500 people for DUIs annually from 2013 to 2015. By 2016, Miami-Dade police only arrested 594 people for DUIs. It’s not completely known why DUI arrests are dropping in South Florida. News outlets think it’s a combination of Uber, Lyft, Millennials not wanting to drink as much and more pro-active law enforcement.
What Florida law says about DUIs
While lower DUI arrests in South Florida can be a sign of less drunk drivers on the road, being caught drunk behind the wheel is not something to take lightly. If you think refusing a sobriety test will help you, you’re absolutely wrong.
Under Florida’s implied consent laws, any driver who refuses to submit to a blood, breath, urine or any other BAC test, that driver may have their license automatically suspended for a year. If it’s the second time the driver refuses a BAC, their license may can be suspended for up to 18 months.
Getting a lawyer immediately after a DUI is crucial. Let’s say you retain Meltzer & Bell within 10 days of your arrest for DUI. Our firm will immediately help you obtain a temporary driving permit or a hardship license. You may be eligible for a temporary driving permit, even if you have been convicted of a DUI in your past.
Penalties for DUIs in Broward County can be severe. A first DUI offense can result in up to six months in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, DUI school, follow up treatment and 10-day vehicle immobilization. A second conviction is punishable by up to nine months. A third DUI charge can lead up to five years in state prison, a $5,000 fine and at least a 10-year suspension on your license.
Hopefully, if you’re partying in the sunshine in South Florida, you’re one of the drivers who is contributing to lower DUI arrests. If not, it’s within your best interest to get legal representation as the consequences can be severe.