A night out with friends in Tampa can quickly turn into a nightmare if you are driving a car and get pulled over by police for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Florida has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country with penalties that may include imprisonment, fines and license suspension for a first offense. A subsequent conviction increases the penalties, but it also includes mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device to prevent you from starting your car if you have consumed alcohol.
Unless you plead guilty to a DUI charge, prosecutors must present evidence to the judge hearing the case to prove that your abilities to operate the vehicle you were driving were impaired by alcohol or by other substances specified as illegal under state law. If you were given a breath test or blood test to measure you blood alcohol content level, prosecutors may use the test results as proof of impairment if the BAC level was 0.08 or higher.
Intoxication per se under state law means that prosecutors can still convict you of drunk driving charges even without other evidence to prove that your driving abilities were impaired. Per se intoxication laws make it easier for prosecutors to obtain a conviction of a charge that can cause your insurance premiums to go up and, if you need a car to get to work, could cost you your job.
It is a mistake to not take drunk driving charges seriously. If you were arrested on DUI charges, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible to learn about the penalties and long-term consequences you could be facing.