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Do Florida laws really protect you against drunk drivers?

When a Florida driver faces arrest for drunk driving or causes an accident because he or she is drunk, you might assume that he or she will lose the right to drive. In many states, a person arrested for suspected DUI immediately loses driving privileges, but that is not the case in Florida. There is concern over how much the law actually protects law-abiding citizens and keeps drunk drivers off the road.

Because of fine print in Florida laws, drunk drivers may be back on the road much sooner than you would expect or assume to be appropriate. You may not know that every DUI citation contains wording that allows a driver to use the citation as a temporary driver's license for 10 days. This technically allows individuals with a history of drunk driving back on the road over and over again. 

Is the law wrong?

Because of the wording of the law, drunk drivers may be able to stay on the road while their case makes its way through the court system, even if they caused a serious collision. Recently, a Tampa-area driver caused a serious accident that resulted in grave injuries to another driver and fatal injuries to himself. On the day of the accident, he was to have a hearing about a drunk driving case that had been pending in the court system for a year. 

It may seem preposterous that there are loopholes that allow dangerous drivers on the road, but it may be helpful to consider the following:

  • There is reason to believe that most first-time DUI offenders get right back on the road, which sometimes has grave consequences.
  • Some counties are initiating programs that allow first-time offenders to get help and reduce their sentence, which may help reduce the chance of a repeat offense.
  • Florida ranks second of all 50 states for repeat drunk driving offenders. 

You may believe that Florida laws do not do enough to keep drunk drivers from causing harm to others, but you still have options. If you are the victim of a drunk driving accident and you suffered injury, you have the right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering.

The law allows for victims of negligent or reckless actions to pursue financial compensation from the liable parties. If you believe that you could have a valid case, you may find it beneficial to seek a complete explanation of your legal options and discuss your concerns with a lawyer familiar with Florida's personal injury laws.

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