The Different Types of DUI Offenses and Consequences in Florida
There are numerous DUI-related crimes in Florida. The main criminal offense, driving under the influence, is set forth in 36.193 of the Florida statute. This statute governs the basic definition and the fines and penalties. There are many other related offenses as the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Administration (FHSMVA) explains. These related offenses include other crimes and other consequences for DUI violations. Violations of the DUI laws may result in imprisonment, fines, suspension of your driver’s license, the need to install an ignition interlock device (IID), and many other consequences.
At Lulich & Attorneys, our Vero Beach and Sebastian criminal defense lawyers represent Indian River County defendants in criminal court and before the Florida Motor Vehicle Department. We fight to have the charges dismissed, to obtain acquittals, and to negotiate plea bargains. We challenge the basis for the police stop, the procedures for taking field sobriety and chemical tests, the validity of any breath or blood tests, and we assert other defenses.
What is Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida?
A person is guilty of a DUI if the person was driving or in physical control of a vehicle and:
- The driver is under the influence of alcohol or certain chemicals or substances that cause the person’s normal faculties to be impaired.
- The person has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
- The person has a BAC of 08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
What are the statutory penalties for a DUI conviction in Florida?
According to the Florida DUI statute, the penalties for a first DUI conviction include up to six months in prison and a fine between $500 and $100. The length of the sentence and fines increase for subsequent convictions. The sentence and fines will also increase if the driver’s BAC is .15 or more.
Can my vehicle be impounded or immobilized?
According to the FHSMVA, 316.193 (6) provides that unless the family doesn’t have other transportation, a vehicle used in DUI can be impounded 10 days for a first conviction, 30 days for a second DUI conviction within 5 years of the first conviction, and 90 days for a third DUI conviction within 10 years of a prior conviction. The impoundment/ immobilization is not concurrent with any imprisonment. Some exceptions may apply.
What conditions must be met to release a person arrested for a DUI?
According to 316.193 (9), a driver can be released if:
- The person is no longer impaired or
- The person’s blood/breath alcohol level is lower than 0.05 or
- Eight hours have elapsed from the time the person was arrested.
What are the consequences if a DUI crash causes personal injury or property damage?
A DUI that involves personal injury or property damage is a first-degree misdemeanor. Based on sections 316.193 (3), 775.082(4)(a), and 775.083(1)(d) of the Florida Statutes.
If a DUI crash causes serious bodily injury, the driver can be charged with a third-degree felony which means a possible prison sentence of up to 5 years and up to $5,000 in fines.
What are the consequences if a DUI crash causes someone to die?
Florida has DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges. These charges are as follows, according to the FHSMVA:
- DUI Manslaughter. This offense is a second-degree felony with penalties up to 15 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
- DUI Manslaughter/Leaving the Scene. “A driver convicted of DUI manslaughter who knew/should have known the crash occurred, but failed to give information or render aid is guilty of a first-degree felony.” The penalties include up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Vehicular Homicide. This is a second-degree felony with penalties up to 15 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Vehicular Homicide/Leaving the Scene. This crime is a felony of the first degree punishable by up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
What are the driver’s license revocation periods for a DUI?
If you are convicted of a DUI, your licenses will be suspended as follows, according to the FHSMVA and sections 322.271 and 322.28 of the Florida Statutes:
- First offense without bodily injury. Your license will be revoked between 180 days and one year.
- First offense with bodily injury. Your license may be revoked up to three years.
- Second offense within five years from a prior conviction. The revocation period is at least five years. You may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after one year.
- Second offense five or more years after a first conviction. The revocation is the same as for a first offense.
- Third offense within 10 years of the second conviction. Minimum 10 years revocation. You may be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after two years.
- Third offense 10 or more years after the second conviction. The revocation is the same as for a first offense.
- Fourth conviction, regardless of when prior convictions occurred. Your license will be permanently revoked. You may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after five years.
- DUI manslaughter. Mandatory permanent revocation. You may be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after five years, if there are no prior DUI related convictions.
- Manslaughter, DUI serious bodily injury or vehicular homicide convictions. The revocation period is at least three years.
What are the consequences of a DUI conviction for drivers of commercial vehicles?
Drivers of commercial vehicles are held to a higher standard than other Florida drivers. Commercial driver’s may be disqualified from driving a truck or other commercial vehicle if:
- They are convicted of a DUI with a BAC of .04 or more
- They drive a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance – or they refuse to submit to a DUI test.
Generally, there are no hardship licenses for CMV drivers.
What other DUI-related issues do your Florida criminal defense lawyers handle:
At Lulich & Attorneys, we also advise drivers about the following drunk driving issues:
- Review Hearings for Administrative Suspensions and Disqualifications
- Hardship reinstatement eligibility for drivers who need to drive for business or employment purposes.
- Florida’s implied consent law requiring the taking of chemical or physical tests
- Administrative disqualification law for commercial motor vehicle operators
- Penalties for drivers under 21 who have a DUI conviction
- Collateral penalties for a DUI such as difficulty finding employment because of background checks
Arrested for a DUI? Call an experienced Indian River County lawyer today
At Lulich & Attorneys, our Vero Beach and Sebastian criminal defense lawyers represent anyone charged with a DUI in criminal court and at administrative hearings. To schedule an appointment with an experienced Indian River County criminal defense lawyer, call us at 772-589-5500 or fill out our contact form.