If anti-drunk driving advocates prevail, DUI convictions could get a lot more expensive and inconvenient for even first time offenders. Under current Florida law, repeat DUI offenders and those with blood alcohol levels of .15 or above are required to put breathalyzer devices in their cars. Florida is among 47 states that currently have in-car breathalyzer requirements. Eight states currently require the devices for first time offenders.
Earlier this year, lawmakers proposed the Matthew William Beard and Grace Redgate Act, which would require that all convicted DUI offenders install the devices.
As reported by WFTV: A mother from Seminole County who lost a child in a crash spoke in favor of the device at the state Capitol.
Lake Mary High School graduate Matthew Beard is one example of the thousands killed each year at the hands of drunk drivers. He was a senior with one semester left to go when a drunk driver plowed into his car.
His mom urged Florida lawmakers to pass a law named after Beard.
The law would allow judges to order a breathalyzer device called an interlock be placed in the cars of anyone convicted of a DUI. The convicted driver would have to blow into the device to prove he is sober before the car would start.
Right now judges can only order the locks in the most severe DUI cases, such as repeat offenders, drunk drivers with children in the car or DUIs with a blood alcohol level over .15.
“It will absolutely positively without a doubt save lives. It’s been proven in other states,” Russell said.
Studies estimate 50 percent to 75 percent of drunk drivers whose licenses are suspended continue to drive anyway.
Convicted drivers would have to pay $100 to install the devices and $60 per month for monitoring costs.
The act died in the criminal committee in March, but advocacy group MADD has urged the Florida legislature to revisit the bill in the next legislative session.
If you or someone you know is at risk for a DUI conviction in Clearwater, FL call our office. The law offices of Dean Tsourakis are here to protect your rights.