Blood Alcohol Content: Defining DUI in Florida


Your BAC is the concentration of alcohol in your blood. In Florida, when you place your signature on your driver's license, it is implied that in doing so you are accepting the privilege to hold a license, and as a condition of that privilege, you are consenting to be tested for blood alcohol content (BAC) if an officer has reason to suspect that you are intoxicated. Although you may refuse a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test, your license will be automatically revoked if you do. Not only that , the fact that you refused the test can be used at trial as evidence that you were trying to cover up the fact that you were impaired. The BAC test is used obtain evidence against you to help prosecutors obtain a DUI conviction. Depending on the number recorded by Florida’s Intoxilyzer 8000 breathalyzer, you may be facing DUI charges.

How High Did You Blow? Over .08 and Over .15

You are considered impaired if your blood alcohol content is .08 or higher if you are an adult, unless you are driving on a commercial license, in which case you will be considered impaired with a BAC of .04.

If you blow a blood-alcohol level of .15 or above, you are subject to enhanced penalties, even for a first offence. First time DUI enhancements for blowing .15 or higher include six to nine months in jail, higher fines, and ignition interlock for a first offense.

If you are under the legal drinking age (21) under Florida's zero tolerance law for underage drinking and driving, a BAC of .02 is sufficient for a DUI conviction.

If you believe that numbers don't lie, this may seem fairly straightforward at first glance. There are, however, many reasons that the breathalyzer or other test may be inaccurate. Not only that, except in a DUI checkpoint roadblock, which must adhere precisely with state guidelines, a police officer is not allowed stop drivers randomly to test their BAC. Unless you were stopped at a sobriety checkpoint (which must comply with statutory guidelines), the officer must have observed some indication that you were impaired, such as erratic driving or disregarding traffic signals. If on any traffic stop, your voice sounds less than crystal clear or your breathe smells of alcohol, the police officer will usually ask you to perform  field sobriety test designed to justify administering the breathalyzer to get a blood alcohol content reading.