In the State of Florida, driving while above the legal limit of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) amounts to a crime. For most adults 21 and over, the legal limit is .08% BAC (the exception being commercial drivers, whose BAC limit is 0.04%). For those under the age of 21, a BAC of .02% or above constitutes a crime.
However, BACs under this limit may also be prosecuted as a crime based on the circumstances and the observed impairment of the driver. For instance, a driver under .08% BAC but who fails a field sobriety test or who admits to drinking heavily before driving could still be successfully prosecuted for impaired driving. Other times, a person can be under the influence of different or multiple substances, such as pain medications or marijuana, and be charged with a DUI.
Florida Statutes §316.193 outlines the criminal penalties for driving under the influence, including increased penalties and charges for consecutive DUIs. Additionally, DUIs committed under certain circumstances, such as with a minor in the car or that caused severe bodily injury or property damages, may carry additional penalties. Each instance of damages while DUI can be charged as a separate first-degree misdemeanor. Accidental deaths resulting from the DUI may be prosecuted as vehicular manslaughter.
Florida law does not prevent those charged or convicted with DUI-related crimes from being subpoenaed for a civil lawsuit relating to damages from their crime. Wrongful death, personal injury and other torts can be alleged against the alleged perpetrator of a DUI crime in order to reclaim damages caused by their actions.