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Definition of DUI under Florida Law

What does DUI stand for under Florida law? D.U.I. is an abbreviation of Driving Under the Influence (often called "drunk driving" or "DWI" in other states).

Unlike the definition you might find in the dictionary, under Florida's statutory scheme the term DUI means that a person drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle while his "normal faculties" were impaired by alcohol intoxication or impairment from a chemical or controlled substance.

Florida law also provides for an alternative way that the prosecutor can prove that the driver was DUI if the driver's breath or blood alcohol concentration is over .08 (often called "DUBAL" or DUI "per se").

Under this alternative theory, the prosecutor does not have to prove that the driver's normal faculties were necessarily impaired. If the BAL level was over a .15 then the prosecutor will often ask for enhanced penalties under Florida DUI law.

If you were arrested in the greater Tampa Bay area then contact an experienced DUI attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We welcome your calls to discuss your case and the best strategy for your defense.


Glossary of DUI Terms in Florida

Administrative Suspension - The term "administrative suspension" is defined as the immediate suspension of a driver's license by the arresting officer or deputy pursuant to Florida Statute 33.2615, when the blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher, or the driver refuses to submit to the chemical test of his breath, blood or urine.

The definition of the administrative suspension can also include the immediately suspension of the drivers' license if the driver is under the age of 21 and refused to submit to a portable breath test after the officer has probable cause to believe the driver's breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is over a .02.

Affidavit of Refusal to Submit to Breath, Urine or Blood Test - The Florida Department of Highway Safety or Motor Vehicle (DHSMV) FORM 78054 is the refusal form that must be completed to initiate the process of an administrative suspension after an alleged refusal to submit to the required tests of the driver's breath, blood or urine.

Driving under the Influence (DUI) - Florida Statute 316-193 - A person can be charged with the misdemeanor offense of driving under the influence if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within the State of Florida, and the person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in F.S. 877.111, or any substance controlled under F.S. 893; when affected to the extend that normal faculties are impaired; or the person has a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or above.

D.U.I. Report - The DUI Report is a form used by law enforcement officers in Florida which documents the actions and statements of the person suspected of DUI. The form includes a worksheet listing the possible clues of impairment for the field sobriety exercises.

Florida DUI Uniform Traffic Citation - The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) Form 75904 (Rev. 7/06) is used when a breath alcohol level (BAC) is .08 or higher or when the driver refuses to take an evaluation of his breath or urine. The citation is uniform across the state to help in the collection of various statistics.

NHTSA - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a federal government agency that oversees certain national standards for DUI / DWI enforcement including the development of a standardized method of administering field sobriety exercises (often abbreviated as "SFSE.")

Non-standardized Field Sobriety Evaluation - Additional evaluations that are often used by officers throughout Florida to establish probable cause for a DUI arrest even though NHTSA has not developed a standardized method of administering these agility or divided attention exercises.

Standardized Field Sobriety Evaluation - A set of three evaluations developed as a standardized battery of tests by NHTSA which are really a series of agility exercises administered by an officer on the roadside after a DUI arrest to support the officer's opinion that probable cause exists for the arrest.

Article last updated by on Wednesday, February 11, 2015.