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Personal Injury Law » Car Accidents » Cases Involving DUIs



Most people associate drunk driving with the action of being pulled over by the police and ultimately facing criminal prosecution. Under Florida law, intoxicated drivers are subjected to criminal DUI for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether or not the driver caused harm from doing so. Drunk drivers who are charged in a criminal court of law may also face civil charges after criminal prosecution. The civil suit is necessary for injured parties to recover damages from the convicted drunk/DUI driver. While the details of drunk driving cases may vary, Florida imposes standard penalties against those who are convicted of criminal DUI. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s reckless decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, call a Melbourne DUI accident lawyer from Couture Law to see how you can hold the negligent party or parties responsible.

Criminal penalties

Criminal drunk driving-DUI charges are brought by the State of Florida on behalf of the people of the state. Criminal penalties for drunk driving/DUI are intended to punish the accused for engaging in a dangerous, socially unacceptable behavior. Penalties for drunk driving-DUI in Florida may include jail time, fines, and probation.

According to Florida law, if a driver is caught with a legal alcohol limit (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, the driver may be charged with DUI. The State of Florida then initiates criminal proceedings against the defendant:

  • The criminal consequences of a first DUI offense under Florida law include up to six months jail time, a fine of up to $1,000, driver’s license suspension up to 12 months, and installation of an ignition interlock device on your car at the expense of the convicted drunk driver.
  • Jail time may be increased to nine months for aggravating circumstances surrounding the DUI such as a higher BAC of 0.15 percent or more or driving under the influence with one or more passengers under 18 years of age. Jail time increases to 12 months if the DUI accident caused property damage or minor injuries to another person. Jail time increases to five years if the accident caused serious injuries.

Criminal penalties punish the drunk driver. Civil consequences are necessary to compensate the drunk driver’s victims, and retaining a Melbourne DUI accident attorney becomes critical.

Civil consequences of a DUI

Under Florida law, “civil DUI” does not exist. Instead, various civil consequences follow from the same events or incidents that led to the driver’s DUI conviction. The civil case allows victims to pursue the drunk driver for damages. Civil cases against a drunk driver in Florida either occur simultaneously or after criminal DUI prosecution. Most commonly, civil consequences of a DUI conviction include:

  • Civil suits brought by accident victims or their representatives. If an accident caused property damage or bodily injuries, the plaintiffs are usually compensated by the DUI driver’s insurance company. However, if the DUI-related accident caused severe damage, such as death, the potential to recover awarded damages may exceed the driver’s insurance policy maximum limits. In that case, the victim or his or her family members or a representative may bring direct suit against the driver for remaining damages. This is handled by a Melbourne DUI injury attorney.
  • Insurance issues result from a DUI conviction. The DUI is a serious offense. The offender is now considered a high risk insured by the insurance underwriter. Typically, the insurer will then either raise the driver’s premium rates or drop the driver from policy coverage. Therefore, the presence of a DUI on a driver’s record will make it more difficult for the offender to buy insurance or find a new insurance company willing to underwrite the risk.
  • DUI consequences may include suspension or revocation of the individual’s Florida driver’s license. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issues and controls driver’s licenses within the state. If the court orders revocation or suspension of the driver’s license, the offender automatically loses his or her driving privilege.

A Melbourne drunk driving accident attorney can help victims

If you or a loved one have been involved in a DUI accident in Brevard County, immediately contact local DUI victim attorneys renown for successful outcomes in laqsuits involving car accidents in Melbourne and Titusville. You may be eligible for compensation for property damage, injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income or wages. Let Couture Law P.A. go to work for you today.