A conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI, can lead to serious penalties for a DUI in Florida. It is a charge that can bring tremendous stress and concern to you and your family. The exact consequences of a DUI conviction in the state of Florida will vary based on level of seriousness of the incident or action.
- First DUI Conviction
A fine between $500 and $1,000. When your blood alcohol level (BAL) is .08 or higher, you’re considered legally impaired in the U.S. If the blood/breath alcohol level is incrementally higher with .15 or higher at the time of the DUI charge, the fine range increases between $1,000 and $2,000. Fines would also be increased if a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the DUI.
Jail time for the first conviction can be a maximum of six months or nine months for increased BAL or driving with a minor situations.
- Second DUI Conviction
If you are convicted for a second time for DUI, fines rise start at $1,000 and can be as high as $2,000 and nine months maximum jail time. If includes the increased BAL and or having a minor in car at the time of DUI, fines are higher, between $2,000 and $4,000 with a maximum of 12 months incarceration.
- Third DUI Conviction
A thirds DUI conviction brings even greater penalties with fines increased to between $2,000 to $5,000 and mandatory jail time, and no less than $4,000 and 12 months for BAL/minor as passenger offenses.
- Fourth and Any Subsequent DUI Convictions
A fourth conviction is even more serious and carries heavier penalties: minimum fines of $2,000 and $4,000 for the respective categories, with five years maximum on the potential jail sentence.
In all cases, the court may seek to have the convicted individual’s driving privileges revoked permanently or for a designated period of time. The Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles does note the impounding and/or immobilization of a vehicle due to a DUI conviction cannot occur at the same time as incarceration, meaning they cannot take away or impound your vehicle while you are in jail.
First conviction means of the loss of vehicle usage for 10 days, 30 days for the second conviction, and 90 days for the third conviction. The Court may take into consideration the accused’s transportation needs when considering this portion of the punishment.
An individual’s driver’s license privileges can also be revoked for anywhere between 180 days to permanent revocation for a DUI conviction.
So we can already see the physical, financial, and emotional costs of a DUI conviction. However, the penalties listed above apply to situations when the driver was pulled over and charged with a DUI before a serious accident could occur. If the DUI is coupled with an accident that causes harm or damage, then the penalties are even more serious.
- DUI Crash with Property/Personal Damage
A $1,000 fine and one year in jail. Repeat offenders can be hit with a $5,000 fine and five years in jail. Florida law currently ranks this offense as a third-degree felony.
$10,000 in fines and between 15 to 30 years in jail, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Manslaughter is the crime of killing someone without malice or forethought. DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Florida.
Get a Good DUI Lawyer
Because DUIs start out as a misdemeanor offense, it’s tempting to think you may not need a lawyer. But as you see the penalties for a DUI conviction are significant with hefty fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. It can also lead to problems such as obtaining a job, applying for loans or housing, and personal embarrassment and shame.
It’s therefore advisable to seek the knowledge of a qualified legal professional when facing a DUI charge such as West Palm Beach attorneys Adam R. Farkas and Jacqueline D. Crowley. They bring strong litigation skills and experience to to their clients’ cases and exhibit compassion knowing the stress their clients suffer when charged with a DUI.