Possible Changes In Store for Florida DUI Law
A new piece of legislation, known as Bill 1810, is currently up for consideration in the Florida Senate. Bill 1810 modifies Florida’s current law regarding DUI convictions. The bill was filed by Senator Stephen Wise and may become effective as of July 1, 2012 if the Senate votes to approve it. Florida’s current law requires the state to prove a person has engaged in drunk driving based on a blood-alcohol level of .08. Under Bill 1810, a person can be arrested for driving under the influence if his blood-alcohol level is .08 or higher after having operated a motor vehicle. This means, a person can be charged for a driving under the influence after having operated a vehicle as opposed to “while operating a vehicle”.
Bill 1810 also assigns a DUI charge in cases where a person drives impaired as a result of ingesting a controlled, or prescription substance. Unlike the .08 blood-alcohol level required to arrest a person for alcohol impairment, Bill 1810 only requires the presence of a metabolite from a Schedule I-IV controlled substance in the person’s system. In effect, any drug that appears on the Federal Register under a Schedule I-IV classification falls within the scope of Bill 1810.
Many criminal defense attorneys in central Florida oppose the passing of Bill 1810 because of its potential for infringing upon a person’s legal rights. In effect, law enforcement does not have to prove a person is impaired in cases involving controlled substances due to the way metabolites can linger in the blood system for weeks at a time. This means, a controlled substance ingested one to two weeks beforehand can cause a person to be charged with driving under the influence. This provision greatly differs from the drunk driving blood-alcohol requirement. Not surprisingly, Florida defense lawyers have expressed concern regarding the ramifications for drivers’ legal rights should Bill 1810 be upheld.
The DUI Attorneys at Umansky Law Firm defend people convicted of alcohol-related traffic violations. If you have received a DUI in Florida, you need experienced legal guidance. Contact us today for more information.