Florida DUI Laws and Penalties
Most states have moved toward harsher penalties for drunk driving, and Florida is no exception. A DUI conviction has widespread consequences even beyond the criminal penalties. If you are convicted of DUI, you could face adverse effects in your current job, your future career, your ability to drive, and, ultimately, your ability to support your family. DUI penalties in the state of Florida vary according to a number of different factors, including your blood alcohol level at the time of your arrest, your prior criminal history, and whether you caused injuries or death to another person.
First DUI Offense
For your first DUI offense, you can receive a fine of $1,000, which can increase to $2,000 if your blood alcohol level measures 0.15% or more or you have a minor in the vehicle. You must also complete 50 hours of community service. Alternatively, some judges will allow individuals to pay an hourly rate, which is often $10 for each hour of required community service in lieu of actually performing the community service in person. You may lose your driver’s license for up to a year; in order to obtain hardship license reinstatement, you must complete a DUI education course. You could be placed on probation and/or ordered to serve a jail sentence ranging from six to nine months, depending on the circumstances of your case. Your vehicle may be impounded for 10 days, which will result in additional fees and expenses, and if your blood alcohol level is 0.15% or more, or you have a minor in the vehicle, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device.
Second DUI Offense
If you have one prior DUI conviction, a second DUI offense will get you a fine ranging from $2,000 to $4,000. You could serve nine to 12 months in jail and have your license revoked for up to five years. For a second offense within five years, you must serve a jail sentence of at least 10 days. Ironically, community is not required for a second or subsequent DUI. Your car may also be impounded for 30 days if convicted twice in five years, you must complete a DUI education course, and you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle that you drive.
Third DUI Offense
Predictably, the penalties for a third DUI conviction are more severe, with a third DUI offense in 10 years or a subsequent DUI offense resulting in a third degree felony charge. You could be fined up to $5,000, and will face a minimum $4,000 fine if your blood alcohol level is 0.15% or more or you have a minor in the vehicle. A third DUI conviction within 10 years will result in a mandatory 30-day jail sentence; if the three convictions are not within a 10-year period, there is a maximum of 12 months of imprisonment. Your vehicle can be impounded for 90 days if you have three DUI convictions within a 10-year period.
Fourth or Subsequent DUI Offense
A fourth or subsequent DUI offense will result in not more than five years of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine or sentencing as a habitual/violent offender.
DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury
While regular DUI charges are misdemeanors under Florida law, a DUI that results in an accident causing serious bodily injury to another person is a third degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years. If your DUI causes an accident in which someone is killed, you then can face a charge of DUI manslaughter, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 15 years, or both.
Contact Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., Today
While a DUI conviction may seem relatively minor, the fact is that legislators nationwide have taken action to crack down on drunk driving, even if it is your first offense. Subsequent DUI offenses, and particularly those that result in bodily injury to another, can result in even more severe penalties and consequences. DUI cases tend to move quickly through the Florida criminal justice system, so you should not delay in contacting the Kissimmee criminal defense lawyers of Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., as soon as possible. You need us to help protect your rights if you are accused of DUI or any type of criminal offense. Call us today or contact us online for assistance with your criminal charges.