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DUI over .15

Florida law provides for enhanced penalties if the driver's chemical test results indicate a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) over .15. For some of these cases, the goal is getting the prosecutor to stipulate to a BAC below .15 so that the enhanced penalties do not apply.

Click here to read more about our Recent Case Results in Drunk Driving Cases.

Another goal is getting the breath test reading thrown out completely because of problems with the breathalyzer machine used in the case. When the Intoxilyzer 8000 is not in compliance with the rules for the maintenance or inspection of that machine, then the court can throw the entire breath test out of evidence.

Other defenses in the case can force the prosecutor to reduce the charges. For instance, the prosecutor can also agree to a two-level reduction to reckless driving.

The State Attorney's Office in Hillsborough County just announced the creation of a new DUI Diversion Program called "RIDR." For a first DUI with a BAC of .20 or below, the defendant might qualify for a reduction to reckless driving with a withhold of adjudication in exchange for completing extra sanctions including seventy-five (75) hours of community service and the ignition interlock alcohol monitoring device for six months. If your breath or blood alcohol concentration is over .20 then you will not qualify for the diversion program.

Attorneys for DUI over .15 in Tampa, FL

Having a breath test reading with a BAC over .15 is surprisingly common. In fact, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the average breath test reading was right at .15 for all breath tests given in 2016.

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm are experienced in taking DUI breath test cases to trial and negotiating with the prosecutor for the best possible offer to reduce the charges. Call to speak with one of the three attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm today about your case.

Call 813-250-0500 today.


Enhanced DUI Penalties for DUI with a BAC of .15

The prosecutor with the State Attorney's Office must allege a basis for the enhanced penalty in the charging document and that element must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt at trial. The basis for the enhancement is an allegation that the BAC is over .15 percent.

The court in State v. Haddix explained the requirement:

"We believe the BAL (Blood Alcohol Level above .15) ... are essential facts constituting the offense charged which requires a factual determination by the jury or factfinder." State v. Haddix, 668 So.2d 1064 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996).

Provided below is a summary of the enhanced penalties for any driver convicted of DUI with a BAC over .15 (without a stipulation to a lesser charge):

  • First Offense for DUI Penalties
    • First Offense under .15 - The court has the option of ordering the Ignition Interlock Devise for up to six (6) months but it is not required; or
    • First Offense with a BAC of .15 or above - The court is required to order the Ignition Interlock Device for six (6) continuous months. See F.S. 316.193(4).
    • Second Offense with a BAC of .15 or above - The Ignition Interlock is required for Not Less than Two (2) Continuous Years. F.S. 316.193(4).
    • Misdemeanor and Felony - The Ignition Interlock is required for Not Less than Two (2) Years. F.S. 316.193(2)(b).

Stipulations to a Blood Alcohol Level of Less Than .015

If you blew over a .015 on the breath test then certain enhanced penalties apply. In some cases, the prosecutor may offer to stipulate to a lower BAC level to resolve the case without a trial.

The stipulation is required by Florida Statute Section 316.656(2)(a). That statute provides that "[n]o trial judge may accept a plea of guilty to a lesser offense from a person charged [with DUI] who has been given a breath or blood test to determine the blood or breath content, the results of which show a blood or breath alcohol content by weight of 0.15 percent or more."

The form varies from courtroom to courtroom, but the language below comes from a form used in one courtroom in Tampa.

ORDER

THIS CAUSE having come before the Court on _______________ regarding DUI citation number ________ upon the stipulation of the State of Florida and the Defendant, and the Court having ratified the stipulation of the parties, it is

ORDER AND ADJUDICATED as follows:

  1. The Court hereby finds that the Defendant's blood alcohol level at the time of arrest was less than .15%.
  2. Because the Defendant's blood alcohol level was less than .15% at the time of the arrest, the Court will not impose the requirement that the Defendant install the ignition interlock device on the Defendant's motor vehicle.

DONE AND ORDERED in Tampa, Florida, this ____ day of __________, 2017.

                                                                                                                             The Honorable ________________

                                                                                                                             COUNTY COURT JUDGE


Finding an Attorney for a DUI with a BAL at .15 or Above

If you need to find an attorney in Tampa to represent you in a DUI case involving an allegation that your blood or breath alcohol concentration was over .15, then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

We are experienced in representing clients charged with DUI after submitting to a breath test on the Intoxilzer 8000. We are also experienced in representing clients who submitted to a legal blood draw (or were subjected to a forced blood draw after a warrant was obtained).

Contact us to find out more about how to fight the breath or blood test reading to get it suppressed or excluded from evidence. Call 813-250-0500 to talk with an attorney over the phone immediately or to schedule an office consultation.


This article was last updated on Friday, March 30, 2018.

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