In our previous blogs we talked about the consequences of a first offense DUI in Florida, as well as implied consent and the consequences that follow refusing a breath alcohol test (BAC) or blood alcohol test (BAC). In this article we will examine the possible charges and penalties that go along with a second offense DUI as well as what happens should you refuse a BAC exam. As you might expect, a second offense carries more serious penalties than the first, and you should always seek the services of a dedicated Florida criminal attorney should you find yourself facing such charges.
Florida DUI Second Offense
In Florida, a second DUI offense is a misdemeanor, which can carry jail time as well as fines and administrative penalties. A second DUI within five years of the first DUI will require jail time. If you are the cause of a DUI accident that causes damage to another person or their property, you can be charged with a felony offense, which can carry with it lifelong consequences.
Criminal Penalties for a DUI Second Offense
If your second DUI occurs within five years of your first, a mandatory imprisonment period of a minimum of 10 days will be imposed, with the maximum jail time extended to one year. Other penalties are based partially upon your breath alcohol content (BAC) or blood alcohol content (BAC). If the BAC is below .15, jail time of up to 9 months can be applied. If your BAC is over .15, you can be imprisoned for up to one year.
Fines for a DUI Second Offense
A second offense DUI in Florida carries with it a fine from $500 to $1,000, which can increase to up to $2,000 if your blood alcohol is over .15 or if your second offense occurs within five years of the first.
Administrative Penalties for a DUI Second Offense
As with any DUI offense, you will, if arrested, likely face suspension of your license. You will have 10 days following your arrest to request a hearing on this account. The period of suspension can range from 6 to 18 months, based upon the circumstances of your arrest. Understand that as an administrative penalty, this suspension is not necessarily dependent upon the outcome of your DUI case. The Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles (DHSMV or DMV) will not consider the possible criminal penalties administered by the criminal courts.
Minors and Implied Consent
If you have a minor in your vehicle when charged and are convicted of DUI, you will face more severe penalties, often in line with those of having a higher BAC. This will lead to more jail time, higher fines and the like.
Refusing a BAC test can also result in higher charges. If your BAC is under .15 and you refuse a test, you can be charged as though your BAC was over .15.
Getting Help with a DUI Second Offense
If you face DUI charges in Florida for a second offense, do not try to do it alone. There are many missteps to avoid, and a dedicated criminal law attorney can give you the best advice and work to make sure your rights are protected every step of the way.