Super Bowl Sunday and DUI Arrests

February 22, 2023 Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving/DUI

With the recent passing of the annual Super Bowl Football game, it’s important to note that although the day is known for being a family-fun day of sports, food, and friends, it can also lead to criminal charges. Similar to other drinking-related holidays, it is not surprising to find that there are an increased number of arrests made for drunk driving on Super Bowl Sunday.

In Florida, driving under the influence of alcohol can lead to severe consequences. Penalties include expensive fines, imprisonment, vehicles impounded, and possible license suspension. When planning to attend holiday parties or other social events where alcohol is present, it is important to remember the importance of safe driving—and the implications of what can happen when choosing to drink and drive.

This page will cover statistics on traffic incidents during the Super Bowl, recent data from DUI arrests made by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Washington’s proposal for a lower BAC limit, and Florida’s penalties for DUI offenses.

National Transportation Safety Board Data

According to the National Transportation Safety Board Data (NTSB)’s Safety Compass Blog, the number of traffic fatalities caused by drunk driving on Super Bowl Sunday is higher than the week before or after the event. The site reviewed traffic trends on Super Bowl Sunday from 2015-2019, analyzing the time between 6 pm Sunday to 6 am Monday.

The data revealed that there were a total of 244 deaths that occurred from car wrecks between the five 12-hour periods (equating to 60 hours) on Super Bowl Sundays. In comparison, there were only a total of 202 and 187 car wreck deaths in the same 12-hour period which happened one week before and after Super Bowl Sunday.

In addition, an NHTSA analysis revealed that out of the 244 traffic deaths on Super Bowl Sunday, 46% of them were alcohol-related. That means law enforcement identified at least one driver involved in the wreck that was under the influence or at least somewhat impaired by alcohol. In comparison to the weeks prior to and after Super Bowl Sunday, car wrecks involving alcohol were 74% higher on Super Bowl Sunday than the week before, and 82% higher than the week after.

Hillsborough County 2023 Super Bowl Sunday Arrests

According to a Facebook post by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the following is a list of Super Bowl Sunday DUI statistics from last Sunday:

  • Traffic Stops – 157
  • Citations – 12
  • Warnings – 154
  • Other Calls – 2
  • DUI Arrests – 28

Washington’s Response to Super Bowl Sunday DUI Arrests

Lawmakers in Washington are looking to lower the state’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level for DUI arrests, after noting that Super Bowl Sunday drunk driving arrests have increased over the last several years.

According to Washington State Patrol, there were 35 DUI arrests made during this year’s Super Bowl Sunday. In King County specifically, the DUI arrests made during the Super Bowl have gone up from 12 in 2020, 15 in 2021, and 18 in 2022.

Washington’s Senate Bill 5002 is set to create stricter laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol. If the bill passes, the State’s BAC level would lower from 0.08% to 0.05%, meaning it would be easier for those who drink and drive to be penalized with a criminal offense.

Over the weekend, amendments to the law were added, including one that would “delay implementation of the bill for six months, giving Washington a full year from the time the legislature passed this legislation until the date of passage of the bill.”

If Senate Bill 5002 passes, Washington will join Utah as the second state in the country to implement the 0.05% BAC level. To read more about Utah’s reductions in fatal crashes due to the lower BAC level and how other states are considering following their example, read our recent blog post here.

While Washington’s proposed bill does not inherently affect Florida, as more states turn to lower their legal BAC limit, it is something to review and consider in case Florida’s Legislature attempts to pass similar laws in the future.  

Penalties for DUI in Florida

The state of Florida has harsh penalties when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. Under Florida Statute Section 316.193, a person can be charged with a DUI offense when driving or being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances which cause their normal faculties to be impaired.

When it comes to alcohol, any person whose recorded BAC is 0.08% or above is considered impaired and can face DUI charges and penalties.

The following is a list of penalties based on the number of DUI convictions the driver has had:

First DUI Conviction

    • Fines between $500 and $1,000, or between $1,000 and $2,000 if there was a minor in the vehicle or if the BAC was 0.15% or higher.
    • Imprisonment up to six months, or up to nine months if there was a minor in the vehicle or if the BAC was 0.15% or higher.

Second DUI Conviction

    • Fines between $1,000 and $2,000, or between $2,000 and $4,000 if there was a minor in the vehicle or if the BAC was 0.15% or higher.
    • Imprisonment up to nine months, or up to 12 months if there was a minor in the vehicle or if the BAC was 0.15% or higher.
    • If the second conviction took place within five years of the first DUI conviction, then the defendant faces a mandatory 10-day imprisonment, with at least 48 hours of a consecutive prison term.

Third DUI Conviction (within 10 years of a second offense)

    • Fines between $2,000 and $5,000, or no less than $4,000 if there was a minor in the vehicle or if the BAC was 0.15% or higher.
    • Mandatory imprisonment for 30 days if the third conviction is within 10 years of the prior conviction, with at least 48 hours of a consecutive prison term.

Fourth or Subsequent DUI Conviction

    • Fines no less than $2,000, or no less than $4,000 if there was a minor in the vehicle or if the BAC was 0.15% or higher.
    • Imprisonment for up to five years if the defendant is considered a habitual/violent offender under Florida Statute Section 775.084.

In addition to paying fines and being sentenced to imprisonment, a person convicted of a DUI offense can be required to have their vehicle impounded or immobilized for a specified period of time. A convicted person may also be sentenced to serve in an alcoholism treatment program. Not to mention, the court can have an ignition interlocking device placed for at least 6 months on all the vehicles owned by the accused if their BAC level was 0.08 or higher, even if their name is not the only one in the title.

To find out more about all of Florida’s DUI penalties, read our informative page here.

Finding a DUI Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI offense, it is extremely important to get in contact with a defense attorney in your area. A skilled Tallahassee DUI lawyer will review all the details of your case, and try to get any charges lowered or dismissed completely. It is also important to receive legal representation to ensure all of your rights are protected and respected throughout the entire process.

At Pumphrey Law, our DUI attorneys will fight aggressively for your freedom. We understand how stressful dealing with a criminal charge such as a DUI can be, and we will do everything in our power to make it a seamless process. To work with Don Pumphrey or one of our other experienced DUI attorneys, contact Pumphrey Law Firm today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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