Drunk driving is a serious crime, regardless of the state in which it is committed. Each state has its own criminal penalties for dealing with DUI, and Florida is no different. Drivers who take the wheel under the influence of alcohol in this state face severe penalties from fines and loss of license to jail time. Here is an overview of Florida DUI laws and the penalties you may face if convicted.
Basics of Florida DUI Laws
DUI law in Florida covers alcohol or any other controlled or chemical substance, regardless of how the offense is proven. If the driver’s faculties are found to be impaired or the breath or blood alcohol content level (BAL) is found to be at or above .08, the driver can be arrested and charged with drunken driving.
The fines applicable to DUI convictions depend on how many times in the past you have been found guilty. For the first offense, fines range from $500 to $2,000. For second offenses, fines range from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the BAL at the time of the offense. For a third conviction that occurs within ten years from the second, fines range from $2,000 to $5,000. For each subsequent offense, fines are at least $2,000.
Certain other factors can result in higher fines. For example, if the BAL at the time of offense is higher than .15, the fines will be significantly higher. Having a minor in the vehicle will also result in increased fines.
Community Service, Probation and Loss of License
First-time offenders will be subjected to a mandatory term of 50 hours community service or a fine of $10 per hour of community service. Probation for a maximum of 1 year may also be imposed.
Depending on whether this is your first conviction or other factors are involved, your driver’s license can be suspended or revoked for anywhere from 180 days to permanent revocation.
Jail time for a first offender will not exceed 6 months unless BAL is over .15, in which case it can go up to 9 months. For the second conviction, prison can be from 9-12 months depending on BAL. Third offenses can be up to 12 months. Subsequent offenses can see imprisonment for up to 5 years’ time. Again, the exact length depends on factors such as how high the driver’s BAL is.
Drunken drivers who cause injury or damage to people or property may be charged and convicted with a first degree Misdemeanor, carrying a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months’ imprisonment.
Accidents that result in the death of another can result in charges of manslaughter or vehicular homicide. These are second degree felonies that not only carry up to 30 years’ imprisonment but will stay with you for the rest of your life.
These are just some of the penalties you may face under Florida DUI laws for drunken driving. If you are charged with this offense, never try to defend yourself. Having anexperienced Florida DUI attorney at your side can result in great reduction and even dismissal of penalties. For more information, give us a call for a free consultation today or email us through our contact page.