Florida Drunk Driving Laws

There are many Florida laws which govern drinking and driving as well as drinking in the state. Despite the laws, however, Florida pedestrian accidents and traffic accidents continue to be caused by alcohol. In 2008, Florida saw 1,041 drunk driving fatalities, making it the third state in the nation for the total number of DUI fatalities. If you have been injured in a Florida drunk driving accident, you will want to be aware of these laws:

1) Florida laws regarding legal age to consume, buy, or possess alcohol: In Florida, you must be at least 21 years of age to buy, drink, or possess alcohol. A first conviction for underage drinking or possession can lead to a $500 fine and 60 days incarceration while a second offence can result in a year of incarceration and a $1000 fine. It is also illegal to sell, give, or serve alcohol to minors. If someone serves a minor in a bar and that minor then causes a car accident, the establishment serving the alcohol can be held partly liable for the accident under Florida’s dram shop laws.

2) Florida laws regarding open containers of alcohol in cars: Unless open containers of alcohol are stored in a locked trunk or other secured area, they are not permitted in motor vehicles in Florida. Open containers include not only cups and alcohol but also any bottle, flask, or can that has been opened and contains any amount of alcohol.

3) Florida DUI laws: Florida motorists are not allowed to drive with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. Drivers who are 21 years of age or younger are not allowed to drive with a blood-alcohol level of .02 percent or higher. Drivers over the age of 21 who violate this law may face up to six months in jail, a $1000 fine, and suspension of their license for a year. Drivers under the age of 21 who drive under the influence have their license suspended for six months. A second offense results in a one year license suspension.

4) Florida licensing laws: Section 562.12 of the Florida Statutes requires all establishments selling alcohol beverages to be licensed. This includes convenience stores, bars, restaurants, and retail stores. Establishments can lose their licenses for selling alcohol to minors.

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