Questioning Florida Drunk Driving Law...Furious

Updated on January 03, 2013
K.C. asks from Tampa, FL
16 answers

I am very confused about something. Early this morning a drunk driver crashed through our fence, plowed down a tree in our yard and came to a stop just short of our parked cars. By the time my husband and I got outside the person was already out of the car exclaiming how sorry he was, yet reaking of alcohol to the extent we could smell it from our front porch. The paramedics came (of course, he didn't have a scratch on him) and a deputy came. Everyone could smell the alcohol and see the open beer bottles in his vehicle. HOWEVER, because we did not see him BEHIND the wheel of his vehicle at the time of the accident the deputy was unable to arrest him for DUI. He admitted to driving...hey he was the only one in the car. He has a previous DUI on record. But the guy walked. His car was towed, some people came to pick him up and now we are stuck, probably, with a big repair job. We already had to clean up our yard from some of his debris (beer bottles and Red Bull). Because he was driving someone else's car, not his own, and the insurance isn't in his name we will probably get stuck with a hefty bill, too. How in the world did this "LAW" come into being? Can anyone enlighten me? Thankfully my family is safe. I have a sick feeling inside knowing this guy is out there (and he's not the only one, of course) running around thinking he got away with hardly a slap on the wrist (got a citation for improper insurance...possibly another citation for wreckless driving, but not sure, doesn't say on crash report). Thanks for reading and if you have any insight on this "LAW", please share. Is it Florida only, or do other states have this same "witness requirement"?

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answers from Tampa on

Wow! That's all I can ridiculous. I don't have any insight except maybe see if homeowners will cover the damages?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Get a lawyer. Find out if you can go after the person who lent him the car. I would bet that he has had DUIs previously, probably has lost his license, and the person lending him the car in that situation could be liable.

Best of luck.

More Answers



answers from New York on

Yes they have to witness it directly b/c there is always the chance that they can say that someone else was driving and ran away. It has been done before. The Police need to actually be able to prove that the drunk was operating the car or else they can say later - that they were drunk when they said that they were driving and it wasn't the truth. Unless there is first hand witness to the drunk driving that is about all they can do at this point. You can try to see about contacting the supervisor and speaking to him/her and make sure that there is a full report done - see if they will atleast forward it to the state attorney and see if they will file charges (it has happened before).

Also you can sue the car owner's insurance - that is why they have insurance and if they don't have the insurance for the property damage then you sue the owner and also you can try to go after the drunk in civil court

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Maybe a civil suit for property damage against the driver and/or the owner of the vehicle that was driven onto your property that actually did the damage? Depending upon your homeowner's deductible, it might be that your HO's insurance company will pursue them for reimbursement for the claim?

This is probably one of those situations where I would immediately schedule an appointment with an attorney for a free consult and see what they recommend/advise that you can do.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It is NOT a law. The cop was talking about being able to PROVE it. The man admitted it, according to your statement.

Call the prosecutor for your city our county and ask them to press charges. This isn't over, it's only the beginning.

Also, you need not get stuck with a hefty clean up bill. Report it to both insurance companies - the car owners and the drivers. One of 'em will pay.

And if they don't, then just sue him in small claims court.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You go after the driver personally and the owner of the car's insurance. He admitted to driving and to the damage. I would wait for an estimate and to see how things are going with the insurance company and the driver before going through homeowners. Your homeowners may deny the claim because liability lies elsewhere. And with homeowners once your file a claim it can affect your rates even if there is no pay out. You don't want your homeowners to go up because of this guy.

First take pictures, then get the police report. It should have the guys personal info and the car owners info. Contact the insurance company of the driver and see what their stance is. It maybe easier to hire an attorney, but you may pay more in attorneys fees than in damage repair. It's possible that the insurance company will pay out and then go after the driver themselves for money.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

My sister was driving down the street and a car pulled right out in front of her. She hit it broadside. The lady got out, couldn't speak a word of English, my sister called the police of course, they came, got a translator, and then they figured out what had happened.

The woman had just entered the country a few days before and did not have a drivers license. She did not know how to read English, had never driven in this country, etc....

The lady got out of any ticket nor did her husband have to pay a single penny of repairs or anything on my sister's car which was totaled.

The story was the husband left the car at home, I do not know if it was his only vehicle and she had driven him to work or if it was a second vehicle that would eventually be hers to drive. Anyway, she didn't have a license and the insurance did not cover her at all.

She didn't get a ticket because she was not a citizen and did not own the car. He didn't have to pay my sister's damages because he said he did not give his wife permission to drive his car.

My sister was out her car, had to buy another one and never got a penny for anything.

So yeah, loop holes stink.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You need to call the police and ask for a police report. You need the insurance information. File charges against the man for the damage, regardless of the drunk driving. He didn't have to be drunk to do the damage. The insurance company for the vehicle needs to be charged with paying for the damage.

Forget about the drunk driving part. Focus on getting paid for your damage.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Call the proscecutor's office to press charges.

Let them know that if nothing happens on a DUI charge, you'll be contacting every local media outlet you can to share the story of how your family was nearly killed in their beds by a drunk driver and the justice system is letting him go.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I think that is pretty much the law everywhere. As stupid as it sounds no one saw him drive drunk.

If the car is insured then it will be covered. Insurance follows the driver and the car.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

A drunk driver hit my car when I was living in PA. He was driving his 'baby mama's' dad's car. Now, he did get charged with a DUI because the police were chasing him at the time he hit my car but I was left holding the bill. The owner of the car claimed that the driver did not have permission to drive and therefore his insurance would not cover anything (although his girlfriend confirmed the driver had permission). So, I had to pay my deductible and wait for my car to be fixed. He was supposed to pay restitution but that never happened.

I think in most places if it can be inferred that someone was driving then they can be charged with a DUI.



answers from San Francisco on

Oh my gosh--this is horrible! I would get the news involved if they don't have a reasonable solution. You shouldn't get stuck with the bill and this guy definitely should be prosecuted for DUI. I am so sorry. Keep pressing and have another convo with the police--maybe they have some resources for you.



answers from San Francisco on

In CA, if the guy admits to driving, is the only person on scene and has possession of the keys, he can and will be arrested for the DUI.

You should contact the insurance carrier for the other car. No matter who was driving, they should be responsible as long as the guy had a valid driver's license. If he didn't, I'm not sure but I do believe that at the very least, the insurance company would cancel the policy bc the insured let an unlicensed driver drive the car.

You should also check with your auto insurance carrier and see if you can make an uninsured motorist claim. No deductible if it's uninsured motorist.

Glad your family wasn't injured. I have absolutely NO tolerance for drinking and driving. It's the most commonly committed crime with such devastating effects!



answers from Las Vegas on

I am not certain it is law, but I have called to try to get someone off the road that was on the wrong side and I was told the officer would have to catch them doing it or they couldn't do anything to them. This was on a freeway in NV.



answers from Atlanta on

I agree completely with Aileene. You can take this guy to small-claims court if insurance won't cover it. And just because the police couldn't arrest him at the scene doesn't mean you can't press charges.

Good luck.


answers from Dover on

As far as the DUI, that is unbelievable. I know if time has lapsed, the person makes it home etc. that they can't prove a person was driving under the influence (especially if they claim they weren't and have since opened a drink).

As for your damage, the owner of the vehicle should have insurance, the driver may have some as well. Your homeowner's insurance can take care of it for you.

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