Stay ahead of the curve and be prepared with our overview of the newest Florida House Bills to affect DUI charges and arrests for 2024. This year, we will see significant changes in DUI laws in Florida as they come into effect, presenting new challenges and considerations for individuals facing DUI charges. With the introduction of HB 0039, HB 0871, and HB 0447, understanding the nuances of these laws is crucial. 

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new DUI laws in Florida for 2024Understanding the New DUI Laws in Florida for 2024

As a DUI attorney in South Florida, I’m here to break down these changes and offer guidance on navigating the altering DUI legal landscape.

HB 0039 Refusal to Submit Breath, Urine, or Blood Test

One of the biggest changes coming up is the introduction of HB 0039, which tightens up the consequences for those arrested for a DUI and refuse to submit to a lawful breath, urine, or blood test. Under this new law, refusing to submit a test means the mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device on all vehicles leased, owned, and routinely used by the individual. This places even stricter penalties for failing to comply with testing. It is important to note that this is different from those who refuse to take a breathalyzer test when pulled over for a suspected DUI. It’s important to know your rights at a DUI checkpoint or if you are otherwise pulled over and asked to comply with a breathalyzer test. While it is within your rights to refuse a breathalyzer test in Florida, you should know that doing so means your driver’s license will automatically be suspended

For those arrested for a DUI, HB 0039 brings significant change and potential financial and logistical complications, as the cost and responsibility of installing the ignition interlock device fall on the individual. 

HB 0871 Driving Under the Influence 

One of the other House Bills to go into effect later this year is HB 0871 which introduces a few key changes. Firstly, it prohibits trial court judges from accepting specific pleas when an individual is charged with a DUI, making the potential consequences if charged even more severe. This house bill also relates to HB0039, defining the refusal to submit a breath, urine, or blood test as a first-degree or second-degree misdemeanor in Florida. 

On the bright(er) side of things, HB 0871 also opens up DUI diversion programs across judicial circuits. While Palm Beach and Broward luckily have their own DUI diversion programs, this new bill opens up this possibility across the state of Florida. Although we often recommend enrolling in a DUI diversion program, this is dependent upon the specifics of a case, and it is not always the best course of action. This is why talking to a trusted attorney as soon as you can following a DUI arrest is so important for your case. They’ll be able to help you determine what the best course of action is to protect your rights. 

While HB 0871 does impose harsher penalties for those already convicted of a DUI, it also opens up the possibility of a DUI diversion program for first-time offenders. This approach helps those seeking rehabilitation, but may further hurt those who have already been convicted of a DUI at least once before.  

HB 0447 Alcohol or Drug Defense 

HB 0447 potentially brings the biggest change to those facing multiple charges following a DUI. Not only that, but it goes into effect earlier than the other two House Bills mentioned previously with the effective date being July 1, 2024. This House Bill prevents individuals facing civil charges due to their actions while under the influence of drugs or alcohol from being under the influence as a defense. In other words, saying “I was drunk,” will not hold up as a defense in court if you are held liable for civil action stemming from a DUI. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to be charged with multiple accusations when arrested for a DUI. Factors such as property damage, personal injury, and even battery or assault are commonly seen in DUI cases. Before HB 0447 goes into effect, it’s impossible to say just how much it will impact future DUI cases, however, this House Bill certainly creates the potential for harsher and more severe legal consequences following an arrest. 

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What to Do After a DUI Arrest in Palm Beach County

These new House Bills show how Florida legislation is harshly cracking down on DUI offenses across the state. It’s an important reminder to always drink responsibly, and that it’s always better to take an Uber if you do happen to drink more than planned. If you do find yourself facing a DUI arrest, keep the following in mind:

  1. Seek Legal Representation Immediately: Contact a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. With the introduction of these new Bills, the potential legal consequences are even more severe. An experienced DUI attorney will know the best course of action for you to take to help protect you and your rights while navigating the legal system following a DUI arrest.
  2. Understand Your Options: You are not explicitly required to submit to any testing or take certain programs in Florida, but it may be in your best interest to do so. Understand your rights and your options, and know what the potential consequences would be if you do choose another course of action.
  3. Be Polite and Courteous to Officers: Unless you have a strong reason not to, complying with officers and being generally polite will make the process go smoother. While you may be feeling stressed about the situation, remember that getting angry and acting out can only further escalate the potential legal consequences.

Is Jail Mandatory if You Get a DUI in Florida?

The short answer is no. However, that's for your first DUI. If you get a second one, under new DUI laws in Florida for 2024, you may be facing some time in jail. In the video below, our proven DUI attorney in Palm Beach Gardens explains:

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The 2024 updates to DUI laws in Florida relating to arrests and charges significantly change the legal landscape and how cases are handled. Overall, these laws aim to make the roads safer for everyone. If you do find yourself potentially facing charges, remember we’re just a phone call away. You can also click the link below to fill out our online form.

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Contact our Palm Beach Gardens DUI attorney for personalized legal advice or to discuss your current situation in light of these new laws. You can also check out our free online guide to help get started on what the best decision may be for you and your case.

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