Posted on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019 at 1:00 pm
In Florida, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including lawfully prescribed medications, under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. Under Sec. 316.193(1)(b) of the Florida Statutes, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she “has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more of alcohol per 100 millimeters of blood” or a “breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.”
Generally, the term is “blood alcohol concentration” or BAC, which refers to the percentage of alcohol in someone’s bloodstream, but in Florida, we use the term BAL, which refers to both “blood alcohol level” and “breath alcohol level.” Both terms refer to the level of alcohol in a driver’s bloodstream, however, there are two different testing methods to determine the amount of alcohol in a DUI suspect’s bloodstream: a breath or blood test.
In Florida, a driver is considered to be legally intoxicated for the purposes of DUI if they have a breath or blood alcohol that is .08% or higher, but it’s important to note that a driver can be arrested for DUI with an even lower BAL. All that matters is that the state can prove that the driver’s ability to drive safely was reduced by the introduction of alcohol.
What Factors Determine BAL?
There are a number of factors that determine BAL, such as:
- Medications that you’re on
- If there is food in your stomach and if so, what kind (protein and fats will slow the absorption of alcohol)
- The number of drinks that you had
- The strength of the drinks you consumed
- The rate of consumption (how fast you consumed the drinks)
- If you are ill or fatigued (sick or tired people are more affected by alcohol)
The BAL/BAC Reading
When you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the officer may ask you to take a preliminary breath test roadside, which is a handheld breathalyzer device that measures the BAL in your breath. If you take this test and you’re breath alcohol level measures .08% or higher, you will be arrested for DUI and taken down to the station where you will be asked to take a post-arrest chemical test in the form of a more sophisticated breath test via a breathalyzer machine or a blood test.
The “BAL or BAC reading itself,” simply refers to the level of alcohol in your blood that is determined through a breath or breath test. So, one of the first questions we’d ask if we got your case is, “What was your BAL reading?”
Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 at 12:59 pm
Florida’s driving under the influence (DUI) law is covered under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. Contrary to popular belief, DUIs are not limited to alcohol. People can get arrested, charged and prosecuted for DUI if they drive under the influence of drugs, both legal and illegal if the state can prove that the drugs impaired the person’s ability to drive safely in any way.
What types of drugs are we talking about? In reality, almost nothing is off the table. If the drug can impair your ability to drive in any way, it can lead to a DUI. So, even common, over-the-counter medications (OTC) like NyQuil, Zzzquil, Benadryl, Unisom, and supplement melatonin can lead to a DUI. Why? Mainly because each of these OTC medications causes drowsiness, which can lead to accidents.
Common Illegal Drugs That Lead to DUI
While there are all kinds of illegal drugs on the streets, the following illicit drugs commonly lead to DUI:
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “After alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often found in the blood of drivers involved in crashes.” The NIDA continues, “Along with marijuana, prescription drugs are also commonly linked to drugged driving crashes. In 2016, 19.6 percent of drivers who drove while under the influence tested positive for some type of opioid.”
Prescription Drugs That Lead to DUI
Prescription drugs can be powerful. They can cause drowsiness, dizziness, slurred speech, and so on. If a prescription has a warning label that tells the patient to use caution when operating heavy machinery, it can probably impact safe driving.
There are many types of prescription medications that can impact safe driving but don’t just take our word for it. “Medications come with warnings about possible side effects, yet many people ignore the warnings. Side effects can include sleepiness, blurred vision, or fainting. Products that could affect a driver include prescription drugs for anxiety, some antidepressants, some cold remedies and allergy products, sleeping pills, and pain relievers,” according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).