DUI Penalties in Florida and How to Handle Them
Driving under the influence of alcohol in Florida is a major crime. The type and level of charges you face depend on many factors, including DUI history, the blood-alcohol level at the time of arrest, age, and potentially other aggravating factors. Facing these charges can be daunting for anyone who has not dealt with law enforcement or criminal proceedings before.
DUI charges are taken very seriously. Whether the court system convicted you in criminal or administrative courts, it is crucial to secure quality representation to protect your interests throughout the process. If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact an attorney immediately to mitigate the negative consequences.
Before we talk about the penalties and how to handle them, it is essential to know what constitutes a DUI under Florida law.
DUI Meaning Under Florida Law
As per Florida law, driving under the Influence (DUI) with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher is a major crime. DUI encompasses both drinking and driving.
You could be charged with a misdemeanor for a driving-related crime. Still, if the situation involves aggravating circumstances, such as injuring or killing someone while you are drunk, you will most likely face felony charges.
Penalties for Conviction of Florida DUI
The severity of your DUI charges and the penalties you face depend on many factors, such as blood-alcohol content at the time of arrest, age, prior DUIs, degree or level of impairment indicated by law enforcement officers during a field sobriety test. The following are some general guidelines for common DUI cases in Florida:
First offense DUI in Florida:
Up to 6 months of jail time or up to 12 months of probation
DUI classes and AA meetings
Mandatory driver reeducation course for more than one DUI conviction in the past five years.
Second offense DUI in Florida:
A second DUI offense within five years of your first DUI conviction comes with a minimum of 10 days in jail. Judges can substitute residential rehab instead of jail time.
If the second offense is five years after the first offense, and if you refuse a blood or breath test or register at less than .15 with no one else involved in an accident, then the maximum jail sentence that may be imposed as punishment is nine months. There is no minimum sentence mandated by law.
For your second DUI arrest, if you were driving with a BAC of .15 or higher or had a minor in the vehicle, the maximum sentence is 12 months in jail. There is no minimum jail time.
Third offense DUI in Florida:
If you have a third DUI within ten years of your two previous arrests, you will face at least 30 days in jail.
If your third DUI arrest happened more than ten years after the second one, you face a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail.
Fourth Offense DUI in Florida:
The offender will be sentenced under the habitual felony offender’s law that mandates they serve their sentence without parole or early release.
Handling the DUI Penalties in Florida:
Florida law mandates that you complete 50 hours of community service if your first DUI conviction is to pay $10 for each hour of required community service. In addition, the court may, in some cases, assign you to a program that will require you to take part in drug and alcohol education.
For most Florida DUI offenses, you must attend a minimum of 8 hours of DUI School. However, if this is your second DUI, you must attend 16 hours of DUI School.
Florida law mandates that if the court finds an aggravating factor in the offense, such as a crash or injury involved, it will also require alcohol testing and treatment. The court order may include probation requirements for up to one year with certain restrictions on driving privileges. Additionally, you must complete any occupational driver’s license suspension within 60 days before the end date listed by DMV before being eligible for reinstatement. If not completed, then you risk having your DL revoked permanently!
Strategies for defending against your DUI charges will vary depending on the circumstances of your case.
It is essential to consult an attorney before making any decisions that could affect your future.
Why a Tampa DUI Lawyer is required to Handle Your DUI Case
Depending on the circumstances of your DUI charge, an attorney can suggest a variety of ways to help you. A Tampa DUI Defense Attorney can explain every potential outcome to your case, depending on the steps you take.
– If you plead guilty, your lawyer can negotiate for a lesser sentence and request mitigating factors.
– Your DUI attorney may be able to get an expungement of the case from your record in many cases.
– When contesting charges, there are often ways to do so without going in front of a judge or jury.
The DUI laws in Florida are strict and varied depending on the severity of the charge, which is why you must consult with an experienced Tampa DUI Attorney if you’ve been charged with this crime. The sooner they start working on your behalf, the quicker they know what defense options might work best for your situation!