Understanding Florida’s Tough DUI Laws
The state of Florida defines a DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol, chemical or controlled substances) as an offense that can be proved by showing the impairment of a person’s normal faculties or a blood alcohol/breath alcohol level of 0.08 or above.
The penalties for each DUI conviction are as follows:
- First conviction — For a first conviction, the fine is $500–1,000. If the blood alcohol level (BAL) is found to be higher than 0.15 or there was a minor in the vehicle, the fine is raised to $1,000–2,000. A first conviction also carries a mandatory 50-hour community service requirement or an additional fine of $10 for each required hour. In addition, a first DUI conviction may carry a total combined incarceration/probation period of no more than one year.
- Second conviction — A second DUI conviction carries a fine of $1,000–2,000. With a BAL of 0.15 or higher or a minor present in the car, the fine escalates to $2,000–4,000. A second conviction may also result in no more than nine months of imprisonment (12 months for a higher BAL or a minor present in the car).
- Third conviction — If the defendant’s third DUI conviction occurs more than 10 years after the second conviction, the fine is between $2,000–5,000. With a BAC of 0.15 or higher or a minor in the car, the fine is at least $4,000. Imprisonment for a third conviction is one year or less if more than 10 years have passed since the second conviction. However, if less than 10 years have passed, the defendant is subject to a mandatory imprisonment period of at least 30 days.
- Fourth or subsequent conviction — The fine for any subsequent convictions is at least $2,000. Prison time for a fourth/subsequent offense should not exceed five years but is also subject to Florida statutes regarding habitual or violent offenders. These are considered third degree felonies.
If you have recently been arrested on DUI charges, seek legal counsel as soon as possible to protect your rights. Contact a criminal defense attorney today to discuss your options.