Tampa DWI Defense Lawyers. Both DUI and DWI refer to the illegal act of operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other substances. The main difference is what the letters stand for. DUI means driving under the influence while DWI means driving while intoxicated. Although these designations may sound the same, in some states they are recognized as completely separate crimes.
In Florida, there is no distinction between a DUI and DWI and any blood alcohol level (BAC) over the legal limit is considered to be a crime. If you live in a state that classifies different types of impaired driving, DWI is a more serious offense while DUI is considered a lesser offense. A DWI charges may result from a higher degree of impairment due to a higher BAC.
Zero Tolerance in Florida
Florida has a zero tolerance law, meaning any driver under the age of 21 found to have a BAC of .02 or higher will automatically have their driver’s license suspended for 6 months. For drivers over 21, the legal limit in Florida is .08 and is considered a serious offense. The penalties for driving under the influence in Florida are identified below (for a first-time conviction).
- Fine up to $1,000
- 50 hours of community service
- Up to 1 year probation
- Imprisonment up to 6 months
- Imprisonment with BAL of .15 or higher or with child in the vehicle, up to 9 months
- License revoked for at least 180 days
- Completion of approved DUI school