Few recent stories depict the downward spiral that can happen to your life if you are convicted for DUI better than what happened to John Goodman. Mr. Goodman, the multi-millionaire industrialist and founder of the International Polo Club in Palm Beach, was arrested in 2010 after he accidentally drove his $200,000 Bentley into another car, pushing the car and its driver, 23 year old Scott Wilson, into a canal in Palm Beach County. Mr. Wilson was unable to get out of his car and tragically drowned. Mr. Goodman, who did not stop to help Mr. Wilson or dial 911, was later found to be twice over the limit for blood alcohol concentration, and was convicted in 2012 for DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. He faces a 16-year prison sentence and a fine of $10,000, while having his driving license permanently revoked.
In what circumstances can a driver be arrested for DUI?
Under Florida law, a driver can face arrest for driving under the influence when driving, or in physical control of a vehicle while having impaired faculties from alcohol, a controlled substance or a harmful chemical. The driver can also be arrested when having a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters, or a breath alcohol level of 0.08 per 210 liters, while driving.
What are the consequences?
As we have seen from the case of John Goodman, a conviction for DUI can have long lasting consequences. Even in less extreme cases, the penalties are serious and should not be taken lightly. The penalties violators can face for a DUI depend on the circumstances, such as whether the accident caused property damage or bodily injury or if the driver had a minor in the car.
For a first DUI conviction with no other aggravating elements such as causing injury, the intoxicated driver faces a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in prison. In addition, the driver’s license will be revoked, the vehicle impounded, the perpetrator will be placed on probation and must perform at least 50 hours of community work. The court will also order the driver to attend a substance abuse program.
As well as facing criminal penalties, if an intoxicated driver caused damage or injury while driving intoxicated, he or she could face a personal injury lawsuit. If somebody died from the accident, the intoxicated driver could face a suit for wrongful death. This could lead to having to pay substantial compensatory and punitive damages.
If an accident with a DUI driver has affected you, make sure you get representation from a renowned Florida drunk driving victims’ attorney.