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New York DWAI & Enhancement of Florida DUI

There are all kinds of urban myths in DUI / DWI law. In the context of a Florida DUI, a Florida appellate court has interpreted Florida law as allowing a conviction to a New York charge of driving while alcohol impaired (DWAI), section 1192 (1), to be used to enhance a Florida DUI. In addition, a conviction to a New York DWAI can be used for purposes of suspending a Florida driver's license. This strikes many as odd since the New York offense of DWAI is specifically not a DUI pursuant to New York law. Many people are surprised to learn that what one state does not consider a DUI is treated as such in Florida.

Both Florida cases that stand for this proposition came from the 4th District Court of Appeal (DCA). Unfortunately, there are two Districts that agree with the logic. Due to a conflict of interest, a Florida driver's license case was assigned to the 3rd DCA. The 3rd DCA, upheld the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle's (DHSMV) decision to equate a New York DWAI to a Florida DUI for purposes of suspending a Florida driver's license. This means that the 3rd agrees with the 4th. The lack of an inter-district conflict of opinion means that this law binds trial courts in all of Florida's 67 counties.

How any out of state (not Florida) prior alcohol related traffic offense will be viewed by the Florida courts is a question of law. The first step is to compare the elements and the second to research the case law. However, all is not what it seems; do not be misinformed or proceed without having the issue researched independently. Click, call or fill out the form to hire a Florida DUI Defense Attorney.

Gainesville 352-371-9141

Ocala 352-694-4529

Dawson v. State 19 So. 3d 1001 (3d acting as 4th DCA 2009).

Dipietro v. State 992 So. 2d 880 (4th DCA 2008).

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