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Ignition interlock is more effective than license suspension

Whether this was your first arrest for drunk driving or you are facing a felony DUI, you are likely concerned about the penalties a conviction may bring. Florida's drunk driving laws are among the strictest in the country, and judges do not have much leeway with sentencing.

Typical penalties for DUI include heavy fines, community service, alcohol treatment programs and jail time. The severity of these penalties increases with the number of times you repeatedly offend. The court often suspends the licenses of convicted drunk drivers in an effort to keep them off the road. However, recent studies show that there is a more effective way to decrease drunk driving, but many states, including Florida, aren't taking full advantage of it.

Holding on to your license

If a court convicts you of DUI and you lose your license, even for just a few months, the consequences could spiral you into circumstances from which it will be difficult to recover. The inability to drive complicates many aspects of life, such as going to work, taking children to activities and running daily errands. If your occupation requires you to drive, you may lose your job and perhaps even the opportunity to ever work in your profession again.

Many states are replacing license suspension with mandatory interlock ignition systems, which prevent your car from starting until you blow into a device that registers if you have alcohol on your breath. Some of the personal benefits of requiring an ignition interlock system over suspending your driver's license include:

  • You would be able to attend DUI classes or alcohol treatment programs.
  • You would learn sober driving habits.
  • You would be able to keep your license to drive to work and other obligations.

Because many who are convicted of DUI are willing to risk a felony charge by driving on a suspended license, the ignition interlock system would benefit them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 70 percent fewer drivers convicted of DUI offend again with an interlock device than those who do not have one installed.

Fighting the charges

Ideally, the court will not convict you of the charges you face. The penalties for DUI have long-lasting negative effects. Additionally, if your livelihood depends on you having a valid driver's license, you will want to make sure you have every opportunity to avoid a suspension.

You may not realize there are ways to fight DUI charges, even if this is not your first arrest. Experienced lawyers know how to challenge the weaknesses in DUI arrests, such as breath tests and other evidence. Having an attorney on your side will improve your chances of avoiding the serious penalties of a DUI conviction.

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