Do you know the legal driving limit for alcohol in Florida? If you don’t, you may want to keep up-to-date on DUI laws in Florida because BAC limit changes for DUIs may be changing very soon.

Hawaii’s state Senate recently passed a new bill lowering the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05 percent, and it is now being considered to go into effect. Meanwhile, Washington state is discussing doing the same, and lawmakers in New York are also pushing to lower the DUI threshold. Utah is the first and only state currently to officially adopt the lower limit, with 0.05 BAC level being the legal drinking limit for driving. 

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Table of Contents:

What is the Current Legal Alcohol Limit in Florida?

Right now, the current legal alcohol limit in Florida is 0.08 percent as measured by either blood alcohol concentration or breath alcohol concentration (BAC). This is equal to about 4 alcoholic drinks for a 180-pound to 200-pound male. For females, it is even less to be over the legal limit with just 3 alcoholic drinks being enough to put them well over the legal 0.08 BAC limit when weighing 140-pounds to 160-pounds. 

legal alcohol limits in Florida

Source: West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration

What Factors Can Affect Your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)?

Aside from the number of drinks consumed, it’s important to know that a number of different factors can affect BAC. Primarily, weight and gender are the key markers in determining the amount of drinks that can be consumed before surpassing the legal drinking limit for driving. Certain medications can result in a DUI or DWI due to their effect on your body’s driving abilities, how much food was consumed before drinking, and the span of time in which the alcoholic drinks were consumed, among other things. 

It’s important to note that for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, the legal BAC is 0.02 percent, which is effectively a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinkers who drink and drive. 

Why Are Legal Drinking Limits in Place?

While it may not seem like a big deal to drive after a few drinks, these limits are put in place for good reason. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that about 31% of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involved a drunk driver with a BAC of 0.08 percent. However, even a smaller amount of alcohol can impair driving abilities, with 2,266 people killed in 2021, with drivers who had a BAC between 0.01 and 0.07 percent, which is below the legal BAC limit. Another report by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation found that once a driver reaches or exceeds 0.05 BAC the risk of being killed in a single-vehicle crash is at least seven times more than that of completely sober drivers (0.00 BAC).  

This is why more states are taking a closer look at lowering the legal BAC limit to reduce these risks of deadly car crashes and prevent people from drunk driving in the first place.

So What's the Hold Up on These BAC Limit Changes for DUIs in Florida?

Some are opposed though. Based on the chart shown above, responsible drinkers can potentially have only two drinks before being over the legal limit, which is a far cry from being irresponsible. The lower legal drinking limit may cause more unnecessary arrests of responsible drivers who consume alcohol in moderation. Many women can reach a 0.05% BAC after just one drink. When 70% of drunk-driving fatalities are caused by drivers with a BAC of 0.15% or higher, is arresting responsible alcohol drinkers going to help reduce these deadly car crashes?

Can I Be Arrested if I Blow Less Than the Legal Limit?

It’s also important to know that you can still be arrested for a DUI even if you are under the legal driving limit BAC of 0.08 percent. In Florida, you may be arrested for a DUI even if you blow the legal limit if there is sufficient evidence of driving under the influence either due to drugs or alcohol. Officers can test for signs of impairment through field sobriety tests, slurred speech, impaired motor skills, and observing reckless driving. Since officers already have the authority to arrest for a DUI even if your BAC is under 0.08 percent, lowering the BAC may be unnecessary and redundant since this allows officers to safely remove dangerous or reckless drivers from the road regardless of their BAC. 

At the end of the day, the only person in control of your drinking and driving is YOU. There is no number of drinks that guarantees you will stay within a legal BAC limit. Ensure you consume alcohol safely and choose to drive responsibly. The easiest way to get out of a DUI is to avoid one in the first place - if you are drinking, do not drive. Plan a safe ride home before you start drinking, either with a friend or with a ride share service like Uber. Also, be a good friend by not letting your friends who’ve been drinking drive either. If all else fails and you still find yourself arrested for a DUI in Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, or the rest of Florida, be sure to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

What to Do if You're Arrested for a DUI in Florida?

Contact Our Palm Beach Gardens DUI Attorney

You risk losing your driver’s license and more legal rights the longer you wait. Luckily, our Palm Beach Gardens DUI lawyer has handled countless DUI cases across Palm Beach County for over 20 years. We understand how the court system works, potential defenses for your case, and, most importantly, how to protect your rights in the legal system. 

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If you’re looking for help with your DUI case, you can check out our free guide “What You Must Know About Your DUI Case Before You Do Anything,” fill out our online contact form by clicking the button above or call us at (561) 671-5995. We’re available 24/7 waiting to help you.
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