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Can you get a DUI in a Tesla or self-driving car?

DUI In Tesla’s Self-Driving Car?What happens when an officer pulls over a self-driving car? Can the officer charge anyone with a DUI in a self-driving Tesla? Some Scholars have written about this and I thought we might review this issue. Tesla automobiles have an autopilot feature. It is not truly self-driving as Tesla has referred to it as semi-autonomous driving. Other car companies have also tried developing autopilot technology.

California Highway Patrol Charge Driver With DUI in a Tesla.

In January 2018, in San Francisco, a person in a Tesla car had an alcohol level twice the legal limit. The Tesla’s operator received a DUI. Tesla has instructed drivers using autopilot to maintain consciousness while driving. Also, Tesla tells drivers using autopilot to keep their hands on the steering wheel. In this arrest, the driver explained that the Tesla was on autopilot to the California Highway Patrol. Even with the driver’s explanation, the officer arrested and charged the driver with DUI. The California Highway Patrol tweeted that the car did not drive itself to the tow yard.

Will Florida Officers Charge Drivers With DUI in a Tesla?

Florida law prohibits an intoxicated driver from being in actual physical control of a vehicle. The car does not need to be moving at the time of a DUI arrest. Florida only requires that the vehicle is capable of being moved. The case law discusses the location of the keys and whether or not the car is operable. Under this broad definition of driving that includes the capacity of physical control of the car, it is highly unlikely the operator of a self-driving car would beat a DUI on that defense. It is probable that the court would find the driver was in actual physical control of the vehicle. Hence, some cars equipped with these automatic driving features have contracts that require the user to keep hands on the steering wheel even when the vehicle is in autopilot mode.


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Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism – RIDR

Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism - RIDR
RIDR A New Hillsborough County DUI Initiative

We just found out from Rena J. Frazier, Chief of Policy and Communication in the Office of the State Attorney 13th Judicial Circuit, “The State Attorney’s Office is commencing a new DUI initiative called Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR), aimed at reducing impaired driving through enhanced sanctions. RIDR will become effective on March 1, 2018.”

Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism – RIDR

Program To Help Reduce Repeat DUI Offenders

This is breaking news. At this point, this is all we know. This includes all of Hillsborough County. Recidivism is the likelihood of a convicted criminal to carry out another crime. The new policy hopes to lessen the chance of the driver ever getting a second DUI.

This change in policy is important for drivers charged with their 1st DUI. According to Florida law, pretrial intervention programs can are available for a first time DUI driver as long as they have spoken with a lawyer, agrees to complete the program, waives the right to speedy trial, and the victim, the state, and the judge have all agreed.