DUI with BAL over .15 in Florida

Many people assume that if they blow over the legal limit of .08 that they will not be able to win their DUI case or get the charges reduced to reckless driving.

Individuals with a high blow over 0.15 are even more concerned that their case might be impossible to win.

At least in Hillsborough County, FL, if your BAC was over .15 but at least one reading was below .20, you might be eligible for the Level II RIDR diversion program for a first offense.

Under the RIDR program, if you agree to enhanced sanctions, including an ignition interlock device for six (6) months, the state attorney’s office will reduce the DUI to reckless driving with a withhold of adjudication.

For a BAC reading over .15, the RIDR DUI diversion program in Hillsborough County, FL, provides an option for resolving the case. An attorney can help you enter RIDR and complete the sanction.

You also need an attorney to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license by demanding a FORMAL review hearing within ten (10) days of your arrest.

Not everyone is eligible for a diversion program like RIDR. You are not eligible if you have a prior DUI arrest, were involved in a crash, had a child passenger, or a BAC reading over .20.

Click here to read more about our Recent Case Results in DUI Cases.

The breath test instrument used in Florida, the “Intoxilyzer 8000,” is not always accurate or reliable. When the criminal defense can show problems with the breath test, the prosecutor might offer a drastic reduction to avoid a trial.

We created this website to give you some general information. Still, no substitute exists for speaking directly with a criminal defense attorney for advice.

Attorney for the DUI with a BAC over .15 in Tampa, FL

If you were arrested for a DUI with a breath or blood test result showing a breath or blood alcohol level (BAL) reading over .15, contact a criminal defense lawyer at the Sammis Law Firm.

We can discuss the best ways to fight this DUI case during the consultation.

Florida DUI laws provide for enhanced penalties that can be imposed if the readings show that the alcohol concentration was over .15. To avoid those consequences, you might consider entering the Level II RIDR DUI diversion program.

Call us to determine the pros and cons of agreeing to enhanced sanctions and if you are eligible for this program.

Act quickly because you only have ten (10) days after the arrest to have your attorney file a demand for a FORMAL review hearing. We can also secure your 42-day permit so you can keep driving to work, school, and church.

Our attorneys focus on defending individuals charged with drunk driving in Tampa and Plant City for Hillsborough County, Florida.

We also have an office in New Port Richey across from the West Pasco Judicial Center and in Clearwater near the Criminal Justice Center (CJC) courthouse.

Call 813-250-0500.

Enhanced Penalties for a High DUI Breath Test Reading

Numerous enhanced penalties exist in DUI cases with a reading of .15 or higher on a breath or blood alcohol content test.

In Hillsborough County, the HCSO Arrest Inquiry will list the offense as DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (OVER 0.15) (TRAF1009).

Under Florida Statute Section 316.193, the Court must impose the following enhanced penalties if the breath test was .15 or over:

  • First DUI Conviction – up to 9 months in jail, a fine of $1,000 to $2,000, and a special condition of probation that you must install an ignition interlock device is required for six (6) months; and
  • Second DUI Conviction – up to 12 months in jail, a fine of $2,000 to $4,000, and a special condition of probation that the ignition interlock device is required for at least 24 months.
  • Third DUI Conviction – up to 12 months in jail, a fine of not less than $4,000.

If you are charged with this type of aggravated DUI, the enhanced penalties might be avoided if the prosecutor agrees and the Court signs a stipulated order.

The order stipulates that the breath or blood alcohol content was less than .15 (notwithstanding the test results in the case), which is the only way to avoid the enhanced sanctions that would otherwise apply.

When One Breath Test Result is Above and One Below 0.15

If there is one reading below .15 reading and one above, the State has failed to meet the burden of proof required for a conviction of DUI with a .15 reading or higher. See Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles v. Colling, 178 So. 3d 2 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014), review denied, 148 So. 3d 770 (Fla. 2014).

In the Colling case, the court concluded that where there were two readings, one below the legal limit and one above, the inference that the petitioner was below the legal limit was equally plausible. Since the burden was on the Department, it did not meet that burden since one blow was above .08, and one blow was below .08.

The same logic applies when one blow is below .15. Defense attorneys use the Colling case to show why the enhanced penalties should not apply to a situation where one blow is above .15, and the other is below .15.

Defenses to the Breath Test DUI Case

Defenses in a breath test DUI case might include:

  • whether the arresting officer failed to watch the defendant during the twenty (20) minute period before the breath test;
  • whether the breath test operator and agency inspector were properly certified;
  • whether the particular Intoxilyzer 8000 used in the case was properly maintained and certified; and
  • whether any other explanation other than intoxication can explain the reading.

A DUI defense attorney can audit the breath test machine to determine whether any problems would support a motion to exclude the BAC reading from evidence.

Filing and litigating a motion to exclude the breath test reading often leads to the best results in a DUI with a BAC over .08 or .15.

Click here to read our article about choosing an attorney and how to fight the DUI Breath Test Case.

A Stipulation that the DUI BAC was Below .08

If the prosecutor offers to reduce the DUI, the criminal defense attorney must prepare the order for the judge’s signature.

The order is filed in the clerk’s office. A certified copy must be delivered to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR).

After the DHSMV receives the order, the ignition interlock requirement will be deleted.

Many courts use the following type of order to ratify a stipulation between the prosecutor and the criminal defense attorney that the BAC was below .15 for purposes of avoiding the enhanced sanctions or reducing the charge to reckless driving:




THIS CAUSE, having come on to be heard before the undersigned on the 3rd day of April, 2023, upon the oral Stipulation by the State of Florida, by and through its Assistant State Attorney, and the Defendant, ________, by and through her counsel of record.

The Court having ratified the Stipulation of the parties, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows:

  1. Because of the parties’ stipulation, the Court finds that the Defendant’s blood-alcohol level at the time of arrest was less than .15%.
  2. Because Defendant’s blood-alcohol level was less than .15% at the time of the arrest, the Court will not require that Defendant install the ignition interlock device on her vehicle or require any enhanced fine.

DONE AND ORDERED in chambers in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, this __th day of _____, 2023.

________________________                ________________________
Attorney for the Defendant                               Assistant State Attorney


County Court Judge

Additional Resources

Increased Penalties for High Blood Alcohol Content – Visit the website of the NCSL, a national bipartisan organization providing states support and ideas, to learn more about the increased penalties for high blood alcohol content enacted in each state for a high BAC. The article provides an exhaustive list of enhanced penalties for each state.

Choosing an Attorney for a DUI BAC over .15 in Tampa, FL

If you have been arrested for DUI with a breath or blood alcohol level over .15, seek out the services of an attorney experienced in fighting the breath test case.

Contact an experienced DUI lawyer with the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, to discuss the particular facts of your case.

We can help you protect your driving privileges by demanding a FORMAL review hearing.

We can also help you determine if you are eligible for the Level II RIDR Diversion program in Hillsborough County so that you can avoid a DUI conviction altogether.

Call 813-250-0500 for a free consultation today.

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(813) 250-0200

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New Port Richey, FL 34654
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Clearwater, FL 33762
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Our Attorneys

Leslie M. Sammis

Leslie M. Sammis

Jason D. Sammis

Jason D. Sammis

Joshua L. Monteiro

Joshua L. Monteiro

Dominique Celerin

Dominique Celerin

Katherine A. Aranda

Katherine A. Aranda

Idalis Vento

Idalis Vento

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