Most of us know of someone who has been injured or killed as a result of a drunk driver, and it's no secret that driving under the influence can have deadly consequences. Yet, every day people get behind the wheel after drinking. Just because you make it home safely doesn't mean that you're making a smart decision! When you get behind the wheel after a night of drinking, you're not only putting your own life at risk, but you're also risking the lives of everyone else on the road.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), over 1.2 million drivers were arrested in 2011 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. According to the Florida DMV, there were 55,722 DUI tickets issued in the same year. In 2014, drunk driving fatalities accounted for 28 percent of all traffic-related deaths.
Consequences of Driving Under the Influence
Like regular auto accidents, drunk driving accidents can have some serious, and even deadly, consequences. Although many people walk away from drunk driving accidents with only bruises and broken bones, others suffer serious damage to their internal organs, spinal cords, and brains. These injuries usually require expensive surgeries, extended hospital stays, pain medication, and years of physical therapy. In addition to injuries, drunk driving can also result in death. It's not just the driver who's at risk but also passengers in the car and other drivers on the road.
Regardless of whether you suffer from minor or life-altering damage, injuries from a drunk driving accident are a constant reminder of a moment that changed your life forever. Aside from the physical injuries, drunk driving accidents can cause additional hardships, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Being involved in a drunk driving accident can also cause extensive emotional damage to drivers, passengers, and family members.
Understanding Drunk Driving Laws in Florida
If you're pulled over after drinking and driving, you'll likely be charged with a DUI. In Florida, driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired with a blood-alcohol level of .08% or higher or while under the influence of a chemical or controlled substance.
Even your first conviction can cost you. In Florida, your first DUI conviction can result in penalties such as:
- Fines ranging from $500-$1,000+
- Community service – Mandatory 50 hours or an additional fine equaling $10 per required community service hour
- Probation of no more than one year
- Jail time
- Vehicle impoundment
- Having your driver's license revoked for up to one year
After the first DUI conviction, the penalties become much more severe. Fines are higher, jail time is increased, and you may even get your driver's license revoked permanently. Although these penalties may seem harsh, they don't compare to the penalties incurred when someone gets injured or dies as a result of your driving while intoxicated. If this happens, you may be charged with a DUI misdemeanor, DUI felony, or DUI manslaughter.
Why You Should Always Use a Designated Driver
If you know that you're going to be drinking, it's important that you have a way to get home, whether that means calling a taxi or using a designated driver. Before you go out, choose someone in your group to be the designated driver for the night. This way, you'll know that you have a safe way home, and you'll eliminate the possibility of getting a DUI. Plus, using a designated driver makes the roads safer for other drivers too!
Getting behind the wheel after drinking is dangerous for both you and other drivers on the road, and accidents that occur after drinking are preventable. Before you drink and drive, think about whether it's worth it, and always find an alternative way to get home.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of someone else - don't delay. Contact the Dellutri Law Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation! Call us at (800) 391-4337.