DUI in Florida: Offense & Penalties

DUI in Florida

December 3, 2021

The state of Florida has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. If you are convicted of a DUI in Florida, you will not be able to have your record wiped or sealed. It will be recorded on your record for the next 75 years. The judge has the authority to inflict a wide range of minimum and maximum punishments. Read on to learn about DUI in Florida.

DUI in Florida

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense in Florida. Impairment of “normal faculties” or a breath alcohol level of 0.08 or greater establishes the charge. The offense and penalty for a DUI in Florida depend on the number of convictions.

First Conviction

If this is your first conviction, you will face a fine of between $500 and $2,000. If your blood alcohol concentration is .15 or above, or if you are driving with a minor in the vehicle, you will face a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000. If this is your first conviction, you must do 50 hours of community service or pay an extra fee of $10 per hour of compulsory community service. For first offenses, the combined duration of probation and incarceration will not exceed one year.

Imprisonment is at the discretion of the judge. Sentence terms may be served in a residential alcohol or drug abuse treatment facility, and the time served may be applied toward the term of incarceration. You can receive up to 180 days jail for your first conviction. If your blood alcohol concentration is .15 or above, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, you face a maximum of 9 months in jail.

Second Conviction

If you are convicted of a second DUI within five years of the first, the judge will sentence you to a minimum mandatory 10 days in jail, a five-year license suspension, and a 30-day vehicle impoundment. A judge can sentence you to up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,000 to $4,000 for a second violation involving a juvenile passenger or a BAC of .15 or higher. These are just a few of the penalties if convicted of a DUI.

Third Conviction

Within ten years after a previous offense, a third violation is a felony punishable by 30 days to five years in prison, a 90-day car impoundment, and a ten-year driver’s license suspension. The fine would be at least $4,000 if the motorist had a minor passenger or a BAC of .15 or above.

All offenders must enroll in a substance addiction course and monthly reporting probation. The judge can also impose sobriety and drug testing requirements. Probation violations and driver’s license revocation can occur if these conditions are not met.

A fourth or subsequent DUI, regardless of when the previous ones occurred, is a felony. DUIs that cause serious bodily injury or death to another person are also classified as felonies. For more information, visit State of Florida DUI Information.   

Reinstatement of License after the First DUI in Florida

If you are seeking to reinstate your license following a first DUI conviction and you have a 180-day to one-year revocation period effective from the date of the conviction, you may apply for a hardship license in your county prior to the expiration of this revocation period. DUI school and treatment may be referred and are mandatory. Following completion, you may apply for a hardship license at your local administrative review office.

If you wait until the revocation term expires before reinstating your license, you may be required to provide documentation of enrollment in or completion of a DUI school and treatment. If you do not finish this course within 90 days of reinstatement, your driver’s license will be suspended until the course is completed. Again, failure to complete treatment may result in your driver’s license being revoked.

When you apply for reinstatement of hardship or full license privileges, you must pass an examination and pay an administrative cost, in addition to a reinstatement fee. Anyone convicted of a DUI must provide proof of injury liability insurance on the date of the offense or provide proof of liability coverage and pay a reinstatement fee of $150 to $500 for subsequent violations.

Keep in mind that reinstatement of a license after a second, third, fourth, or subsequent DUI conviction may be treated differently.

Do You Need Legal Representation When Arrested For A DUI?

There may be various reasons why you wish to retain the services of an attorney. For example, you may want to retain the services of an attorney if you believe you were wrongly charged or if the charges exceed a DUI as a consequence of an accident or reckless endangerment.

Apart from consulting regarding your alternatives, you may wish to retain the services of a lawyer because you only have ten days from the date of arrest to file for a hardship license and work visa. This is critical if you wish to prevent having a negative impact on your job/income due to having a suspended license. Consequently, you may contest the license suspension at this court hearing. If, however, you do not request a court hearing within ten days of your arrest, your license may be suspended for six to eighteen months.

Legal Eagles attorneys with DUI expertise can help you navigate the law and make the best possible decisions in your interest. Having a top-rated DUI lawyer on your side is critical to explore your options and organize a strategy. The main goal is to avoid drinking and driving, but if you have been charged or know someone who has, get the Legal Eagles attorneys to fight for you.