Florida Ranks Top 20 For Strictest DUI Pentalties

Drinking under the influence is never a smart idea, especially in Florida. A DUI is not only dangerous to the driver but also to other drivers on the road.

According to a new study conducted by WalletHub, Florida is ranked the 17th strictest state when it comes to DUI’s. WalletHub’s Strictest And Most Lenient States On DUI performed this analysis due to the heightened amounts of drunk driving incidents.

In 2015 drunk driving was to blame for 29% of motor vehicle fatalities, reported the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On average the act claims 10,000 lives per year and costs Americans more than $44 billion annually.

In 2015 the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles released DUI citation statistics before spring break. During 2015 there were 10,401 DUI citations from all agencies in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, and Sarasota.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2003 to 2012 Florida saw 8,476 deaths from crashes including a drunk driver. When breaking down deaths by age and gender in 2012, Florida ranked just above the national average.

Photo: CDC

However, drunk driving fatalities have seen a decrease dropping by 57 percent from 1982 to 2014, said the NHTSA. That could be in response to states developing harsher penalties for drunk driving.

To determine which states were the strictest versus the most lenient WalletHub compared sentences in each state and the District of Columbia across 15 key metrics. The data collected ranged from fines and minimum jail time to “ignition interlock device” requirements.

Florida came in at 17 and ranked 24th in the ‘criminal penalties rank’ and 5th in the ‘prevention rank.’ (1=strictiest).

While Florida has no minimum jail time for the first offense, the state does require ten days in jail for the second offense, and the third offense is an automatic felony. Past DUI’s factor into present penalties for ten years in the sunshine state.

A Florida driver will have their license suspended for 180 days following a DUI, and the vehicle is impounded with a minimum fine of $500 for the first conviction and $1,000 for the second.

More bad news for a drunk driver in Florida is that car insurance will likely increase 40 percent after each DUI citation, and a mandatory assessment is required.

Tips to avoid a DUI, especially since Florida does allow sobriety checkpoints, are simple. Always plan and have a ride set up if you are planning on consuming alcohol. Uber and Lyft are car riding services that will pick you up and safely take your to your next destination. If you’re unsure if you’re over the alcohol limit, it is best to catch a ride home and come back for your vehicle the next day.

While these penalties are for driving under the influence, it is never wise to get into a vehicle with another driver who has been drinking. If you are hosting a party where alcohol will is served, the CDC advises you don’t let your guests leave impaired if they are driving. Make sure everyone has a sober driver or tell them to hit the couch for a bit.

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Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.