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Florida official calls for tougher ignition interlock device limit

Florida courts have had the power to order people convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle since 2004. Since then, nearly 65,000 people have been sentenced to use the device, with about 9,000 of them currently installed. An ignition interlock device is attached underneath the dashboard with a cable. It somewhat resembles a breath test device and requires drivers to blow into it before the car can start. If the device detects a blood-alcohol content of 0.05, the engine will not turn on.

That limit may get lower if the head of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles gets her way. She wants to reduce the limit for people sentenced to use an ignition interlock device to 0.025. She said that Florida's standard is higher than other states' and that cutting it in half would make it more uniform with the national average.

Though BAL is one of the most commonly used pieces of evidence by prosecutors in DUI cases, it is not determinative on its own whether a driver was impaired. Factors such as the driver's weight and tolerance for alcohol are also factors. For an individual weighing 160 pounds, a BAL of between 0.02 and 0.03 indicates that he or she has likely had one drink, which usually does not have a noticeable impact on driving skills. A BAL of 0.05 could cause some impairment but is well below the general legal limit of 0.08.

Florida law currently allows an ignition interlock sentence for people convicted of DUI with a BAL of 0.15 or above, having a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest or multiple DUI convictions on their records.

Source: WTSP-TV, "Florida considers tougher threshold for drunk drivers' ignition interlock systems," Dave Heller, Dec. 10, 2012

  • Our law firm provides criminal defense for people charged with DUI. For more information, please visit our Tampa DUI defense page.

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