As most people in Jacksonville and throughout Florida are aware, penalties for a DUI are very severe. Even an arrest for DUI without a conviction can bring significant penalties in terms of the loss of driving privileges.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has established a program to address what they refer to as hardcore drunk driving, or repeat DUI (also referred to by the NTSB as DWI) offenders with multiple DUI convictions within 10 years or people driving with a blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 or greater (the legal limit in Florida is 0.08). According to the NTSB, this group is a small percentage of those drinking and driving but were involved in about 53% of the DUI-related fatal accidents in 2006.
Some of the elements of the NTSB’s hardcore drunk driving program are as follows: statewide sobriety checkpoints, laws that define a high BAC as 0.15 or higher as an aggravated DUI/DWI offense, alternatives to jail such as home detention with electronic monitoring, laws that restrict a person’s ability to plea bargain to a lesser offense such as reckless driving and license suspensions for BAC test failures and refusals. For a complete list of the NTSB hardcore drunk driving program, see the NTSB website.
Florida has adopted several, but not all, of the hardcore drunk driving program elements including no diversion programs for those convicted of DUI, alternatives to confinement as a DUI penalty and authorization for sobriety checkpoints.