There might be times when you decide to take a small trip and leave the state of Georgia. Maybe you head to Florida to hit the beach in Jacksonville or visit a friend in Tallahassee. While you’re there, you decide to have a few drinks.
On your way home, you get into an accident with another car. An officer arrives on the scene, smells alcohol on your breath, and begins to suspect that you’re impaired. A few minutes later, you’re being arrested on suspicion of DUI.
What happens when you’re arrested for DUI in another state? Will your out-of-state arrest have any impact on your Georgia driver’s license? What should you do if you or someone else got hurt in the accident? These are all critical questions that must be asked.
Overview of Getting a DUI in Florida
When you cross state lines, you’re subject to the laws of the state you’re visiting. If you visit Florida, you’re required to follow Florida state law. If you’re arrested on suspicion of DUI in Florida, you’ll be charged with a crime in Florida.
Every state in the country outlaws drunk driving. You’ll always be considered “under the influence” in every state you visit if your blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent or greater. Most states also have other ways to define “under the influence.”
Florida’s drunk driving laws are similar to those in Georgia. You can be considered “per se” intoxicated if your BAC exceeds the legal limit of .08 percent. You can also be considered intoxicated if an officer, based on direct and circumstantial evidence, believes that your “normal faculties are impaired.” In other words, if you exhibit signs that you’re not able to drive a car safely, you can be arrested for DUI in Florida.
Florida also has a strict implied consent law. You’re legally required to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test at an officer’s request. If you don’t cooperate, the state can use your refusal as evidence against you in court. Many states are being forced to change their implied consent laws. Courts are finding that these laws violate a person’s Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. However, the law still stands in Florida.
What Happens to My Georgia License If I Get a Florida DUI?
Just because your DUI happens out of state doesn’t mean that you won’t face any consequences in Georgia. While criminal penalties will apply in the state you were visiting, you’ll still be subject to administrative penalties at home. Your Georgia driver’s license will be suspended if you are convicted of DUI in another state.
You’ll lose your license for a minimum of 120 days. State law requires you to pass both Georgia clearance procedures and clearance procedures of the state where you were convicted. Once 120 days have passed, you’ll have to submit a letter of clearance from the arresting state and prove that you’ve completed an alcohol treatment program.
Someone Was Hurt In My Florida Accident. What Should I Do?
Not only were you arrested for DUI in Florida, but you also involved in a car accident there. You might face aggravated criminal charges if someone was hurt or killed. You may also be named as the defendant in a Florida personal injury lawsuit.
The fact that you’ve been arrested for (and possibly convicted of) DUI won’t help your civil case. State laws vary, so you’ll need to consult with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will know how to structure and argue your case to get you the best possible result.