5 Important Facts about Tampa DUI Car Accident Penalties
Did you know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one in three Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime? And, every year nearly 11,000 people die due to impaired driving. In Florida alone, there were 17,748 alcohol-related crashes in 2010, and 1,363 of those were in Tampa (Hillsborough County), with 980 injuries and 54 fatalities resulting.
With that in mind, it’s clear that knowing your rights – and the laws surrounding a DUI – is important for any Florida driver. While a personal injury lawyer in Tampa can give you more details on potential penalties, here are some things you should know about driving under the influence and related crashes in Florida:
- The legal limit for breath alcohol level (BAL) is 0.8, but that’s just for drivers who are 21 and over. For those under 21, the legal limit is 0.2, and there is a Zero Tolerance policy in effect. What this means is that if an under-21 driver is stopped by law enforcement and found to have a BAL above this limit, their license will automatically be suspended for six months, even if there has not been a car crash.
- A person’s first DUI conviction comes with a fine of $200-$500 as well as 50 hours of community service and other penalties. However, if a driver is involved in a crash while under the influence, the penalties will be much higher. DUI crashes that involve property damage or personal injury can result in a conviction of a First Degree Misdemeanor and a fine of up to $1,000 or 1 year in jail. (s. 316.193 (3), F.S.)
- Conviction in a DUI crash with serious bodily injury is considered a Third Degree Felony and can result in a fine of up to $5,000 or up to five years in jail (s. 316.193 (2),(3) F.S.)
- A DUI crash/manslaughter is a Second Degree Felony and has a fine of up to $10,000 fine and/or 15 years in jail. If the driver leaves the scene, that jail term can be increased to 30 years.
- Vehicular Homicide is a Second Degree Felony and comes with the same fine and jail term limits as manslaughter ($10,000 and/or 15 years), but again, if the driver leaves the scene and is convicted of vehicular homicide, he or she may be found guilty of a First Degree Felony and subject to up to 30 years of imprisonment and/or the $10,000 fine.
These five penalties are simply the parameters for each type of DUI, and the actual judgments may be different depending on the situation and the parties involved. The details of every DUI crash case are different, and whether you’re the victim, the driver, or have just been involved in one, you may want to consult with a Tampa personal injury lawyer to get specific recommendations for your case.
Sources: http://www.flhsmv.gov/hsmvdocs/CS2010.pdf, http://www.flhsmv.gov/reports/2010UTCStats/Findings2010.pdf, http://www.dmvflorida.org/2004-crash-data.shtml, http://www.dmvflorida.org/hillsborough-accidents.shtml