A New Bill in Florida Requires an Ignition Interlock for First Time DUI Offenders

dui ignition interlockIn a recent attempt to crack down on driving under the influence (DUI), a new bill (HB949) has just passed the Transportation and Infrastructure committee in the Florida House of Representatives. If passed, this bill will require all first-time offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. While it still needs to pass through two more committees before making it to the House floor, it is important to know what this bill will mean for you.

Court Requirements

While all 50 states have some sort of ignition interlock requirement for repeat offenders, 28 other states currently have laws similar to HB949.  At this time, under Florida law, first time DUI offenders are only required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than .15{7dff60334df83244b79b5471a8769907d27e202ac622cbe5ff51878e61595e62}, if there was a minor in the vehicle, or if it has been court-ordered. Repeat offenders are required to install the device, no matter their BAC. This new bill will make it mandatory for all first-time offenders to install the ignition interlock device for a least six months after their conviction.  Legislators hope that this bill will prevent first time offenders from repeating.

What are Ignition Interlock Devices?

An ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer plugged into a vehicle. The driver must breathe into the device in order to start the vehicle. The device will then beep five minutes later, as a reminder to breathe into it again. The driver must retest every half hour. The data will be recorded and sent to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, and will then be accessible online. The device itself costs $70 to install, requires monthly calibration at a specific facility, which will cost $67, along with a $100 safety deposit. If the offender cannot afford it, the court can order part of the offender’s fine to cover the expenses.

If you, or a loved one, is facing a DUI charge, our lawyers at McIntyre Thanasides can help you. Experienced in Florida DUI law, our criminal defense attorneys will fight for your case, whether you are a first-time or a repeat offender. Have you been pulled over and faced with the decision to blow or not to blow into a breathalyzer? Our lawyers can advise you on how to proceed. Contact us today for a consultation at (844)511-4800.

Tips to Avoid DUI During the Holidays

DUI_holidaysDuring the holiday season, our nation’s roads become more congested as travelers head out to visit with friends and family to celebrate. Your calendar is probably filling up with holiday party requests. These parties often involve alcohol and you may encounter a greater number of drivers who are impaired by alcohol on the roads this time of year. The statistics can be quite frightening – and unfortunately, the number of fatalities year after year from accidents that involve alcohol-impaired drivers is so consistent that it has become very predictable.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that 52% of fatal car accidents on Christmas Day and 57% of traffic fatalities on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day will be directly attributable to alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 25,000 traffic injuries will results from alcohol consumption during this time of year.

One of the most important things to remember is that you can avoid DUI through proper planning. If you are heading to a party where alcohol will be served, keep these tips in mind to help prevent DUI:

  • Before any drinking begins, designate a driver who will stay sober and see that everyone has a safe ride home.
  • Bring money for a cab ride or request an Uber take you home. Both means of transportation will allow you to enjoy yourself and make it home safely, without putting yourself or other drivers in harm.
  • For Florida residents, AAA and Bud Light are offering a service called Tow 2 Go, which provides a safe and confidential ride home or to a safe location within a 10 mile radius. Visit their site for a holiday schedule, and to request a ride dial (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
  • If you happen to see a impaired driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement or dial *FHP (*347). Your phone call could save a life.

Remember, possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in a vehicle (in motion or stopped) by the driver and or the passenger is a violation of Florida law.

If you or a loved one are involved in a collision with an intoxicated driver or if you face charges related to DUI, our firm can help. Contact TJ Grimaldi at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. today.