Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Florida

DUIPenalties for Driving Under the Influence in Florida

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics means you may spend time in jail. You’ll have to pay huge fines. You will lose their driving privileges. DUI penalties for subsequent offenses normally require that the driver insert an ignition interlock device (IID) on his/her vehicle. Your insurance rates will rise dramatically – if you can even find insurance. If you have a felony DUI, you may lose your right to vote. Employers may not hire you because you have a criminal record. Some companies such as trucking companies won’t hire drivers with a DUI conviction after you serve your driver’s license suspension.

The possibility of all these penalties is why most drivers are who are charged with a DUI seek the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Skilled lawyers work aggressively to dismiss the charges and to suppress any tests that weren’t properly given or when the testing machines are invalid. Seasoned DUI lawyers in Indian River County fight to obtain acquittals. We also work to negotiate less serious charges such as reckless driving or speeding. Our lawyers contest the right of the police officer to stop you and every aspect of any tests that were used such as field sobriety, breath, or blood tests.

What is Driving Under the Influence

In Florida, you will be charged with a DUI if you:

  • Drive your car in Florida
  • You drive:
    • While under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances – to the extent your ability to drive the car is impaired.
    • While having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
    • While having a breath-alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or more.

What are the statutory penalties for a DUI conviction in Florida?

The penalties increase for each conviction. The basic penalties are as follows:

The penalties for a first-time conviction are:

  • Up to six months in jail.
  • Fines between $500 and $1,000.
  • A suspension of your driver’s license for 180 days to a year.
  • Required attendance at a DUI education program.
  • Impoundment of your vehicle for 10 days.
  • 50 hours of community service.

If your BAC is .15 or higher, the penalties increase as follows:

  • The jail sentence can be increased to nine months.
  • The fines can increase to $2,000.
  • You’ll likely be ordered to install an IID device for up to six months.

If a minor was in your car when you drove while impaired or with a high BAC, the penalties may increase.

The penalties for a second-time conviction are:

If you are convicted of a second DUI, the penalties are:

  • Up to 9 months in jail. If your prior offense was in the last 5 years, you will have to spend a mandatory 10 days in jail.
  • Fines between $1,000 and $2,000.
  • Suspension of your license for 5 years – if your first DUI was in the last five years. Otherwise, you will still have a lengthy suspension.
  • Required attendance at a DUI school.
  • Installation of an IID device for one year.
  • Your vehicle will be impounded for 30 days – if your first offense was in the last 5 years.

If your BAC is .15 or higher for your second offense:

  • You can be sentenced to up to one year in jail. There will be a mandatory 10-day sentence if your first DUI was within the last 5 years.
  • The fines will be between $2,000 and $4,000.
  • Suspension of your license for 5 years – if your first DUI was in the last five years. Otherwise, you will still have a lengthy suspension.
  • Required attendance at a DUI school.
  • Impoundment of your vehicle for 30 days – if your first DUI was less than 5 years ago.

The penalties for a third-time conviction are:

If the third conviction is within 10 years of your last offense, you will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony. Felony convictions have many severe consequences. The basic penalties for a 3rd DUI convication are:

  • A minimum of 30 days in jail and up to 12 months in jail. The sentence will be a mandatory 30 days if the prior offense was within the last 10 years.
  • Fines from $2,000 to $4.000. If you had a minor in your vehicle or your BAC was .15 or more, the fine is $4,000.
  • Your license will be suspended for 10 years – if the prior offense occurred within the last 10 years.
  • Attendance at a DUI school.
  • You’ll have to install and use an IID device for two years.
  • Your vehicle will be impounded for 90 days – if the prior offense was in the last 10 years.

Penalties for drivers under 21 who have a DUI conviction

Florida has a zero-tolerance policy for young drivers. If you are under 21 and your BAC is .02 or higher, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for six months – in addition to all the other penalties you’ll suffer for 1st, 2nd, and subsequent convictions. Juvenile cases are handled in juvenile court.

Collateral penalties for a DUI.

The statutory penalties cover sentences, fines, and various conditions directly related to the DUI or your driving rights. If you have a DUI:

  • Employers who run background checks may not hire you.
  • Landlords who run background checks may not grant you a place to live.
  • You may not be eligible for certain educational or governmental benefits.

If your job (a trucking job or a delivery service job) depends on your ability to drive, then you will likely lose your job while your driving privileges are suspended.

If you have a felony, you may not be able to vote or possess a firearm.

Contact a seasoned Indian River County DUI defense lawyer as soon as you are arrested

At Lulich & Attorneys, our Vero Beach and Sebastian DUI defense attorneys understand just how frightening any criminal charge can be. Your freedom, your reputation, and your financial security are in jeopardy. We have a strong record of success representing drivers who are charged with a DUI. To discuss your rights and your defenses, call us at 772-580-5500 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.