How is Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Defined by the State of Florida?
Drivers face Florida DUI penalties when the State considers that an individual is DUI if that person operates or is in physical control of a vehicle on public streets or highways while impaired by illegal prescription or over-the-counter drugs, alcohol or a controlled substance which is regulated by the government. However, not all Florida drivers are aware that technically you can be charged with DUI while sittingor sleeping in a car, with the motor shut off, if you are in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition or the keys are within reach.
What Are the Penalties for a First DUI Offense in Florida?
Even a first DUI offense can carry serious punishments that can cost you in other ways besides just the money you will have to pay out in fines. The following are some of the possible consequences:
- Fines up to $1000. If your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was 0.15% or more, or if there was a minor child in your car, the fine could be as much as $2000. If a serious injury was involved, the fine could be as high as $5000.
- Jail time could be up to 6 months. If your BAC was 0.15% or higher, or there was a minor child present, you could be imprisoned for up to 9 months. If there was an accident resulting in property damage or injuries you could receive a 1 year sentence. If there was a serious injury involved you could spend 5 years in jail.
- Probation up to 1 year. Combined probation and jail time cannot exceed 1 year.
- 50 hours of community service.
- Driver’s license suspension up to 1 year. This is the criminal penalty, however, there is also an administrative penalty of 6 months required by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These separate penalties may be partly overlapped.
- An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) may be imposed, at the court’s discretion. However, if the BAC was 0.15% or higher, or there was a minor child in the vehicle, the IID will be ordered for a minimum of 6 months. The IID will be installed at the driver’s expense.
- Vehicle impoundment or immobilization for 10 days.
What Are the Punishments for a Second DUI in Florida?
If you already have a DUI conviction on your record Florida can complicate your life with some very serious and expensive penalties. Some of the penalties may include:
- Fines up to $2000. If you had a BAC of 0.15% or more, or had a minor child with you at the time, the fine can be up to $4000. An accident resulting in a serious injury can result in a fine up to $5000.
- Jail time for a second DUI within 5 years is a minimum of 10 days up to 9 months imprisonment. If you had a BAC of 0.15% or more, had a minor child with you, or if there was property damage or injuries involved, you may serve up to a 1 year jail term. If there was a serious injury you could be facing 5 years imprisonment.
- License revocation if there was a prior DUI conviction within the previous 5 years. The administrative license suspension by FDHSMV is for a period of 1 year if there have been previous suspensions.
- Mandatory IID installation on your vehicle for a minimum of 1 year.
- Vehicle impoundment or immobilization for a second DUI within 5 years of a previous conviction. The impoundment period cannot run concurrent with any jail time imposed.
What Are the Penalties for a Third DUI Offense in Florida?
A third DUI conviction in Florida is considered a misdemeanor. However, if a third DUI conviction takes place within 10 years of 2 prior convictions on your record, it will be considered a third degree felony offense and carries heavy punishments. These penalties may include:
- Fines up to $5000.
- Jail term of a minimum of 30 days if you have at least one DUI conviction within the last 10 years, up to 5 years imprisonment.
- License revocation for a third DUI conviction if you have had at least one prior conviction within the previous 10 years.
- Mandatory IID installation on your vehicle for a minimum of 2 years.
- Vehicle impoundment or immobilization for a DUI conviction that occurs within 10 years of at least one prior DUI conviction. The impoundment period cannot run concurrent with any jail time.
If you are convicted of a third DUI and your BAC was 0.15% or more, you could be subject to other penalties such as community service, monthly probation, completion of a substance abuse program, at your own expense, and a psychosocial evaluation could be ordered.
What Are the Penalties for a Fourth DUI Conviction in Florida?
There are extreme punishments for a fourth DUI conviction. The following penalties are mandatory:
- Fines up to $5000.
- Prison term up to 5 years.
- Permanent license revocation.
- Probation for a period of up to 5 years.
- Impoundment or immobilization of all vehicles owned by the driver.
- IID installation on all vehicles owned by the driver.
- Community service.
- 21 hour substance abuse course.
- Psychosocial evaluation along with treatment in a substance abuse program.
If you were arrested for a DUI and already have prior convictions on your record, you need to be prepared to handle your case in a way that can minimize the overall consequences. A knowledgeable DUI lawyer can help you find your way through the complicated Florida Traffic Court System. A DUI attorney has expertise and knows how to try to achieve the best outcome for you. Our attorneys at The Ticket Clinic DUI Division can work to try and reduce your penalties, and in some cases, can even get your charges dismissed.
Hiring a lawyer at The Ticket Clinic DUI Division who specializes in criminal DUI cases can be a lot more affordable than you think, especially when you consider how much a DUI can wind up costing if you don’t attempt to, at least, lessen the charges.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Florida, call the DUI Division of The Ticket Clinic today for a free consultation at 1-800-625-5232. Our Florida DUI Lawyers have been handling DUI related cases since 1987 and have resolved 10,000 DUIs and 3,000,000 traffic citations.