Possible Penalties for DUI

Penalties for DUI can increase if a person has any prior convictions for driving under the influence. The number of convictions, when they occurred, and even whether you were represented can have dramatic affects on your license and penalties.

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Penalties may also be different for persons under the age of 21. A breath alcohol limit of only .02 could be applicable in some of those cases.

If a person is seriously injured or killed, a DUI can result in the increased charge of Felony DUI or Manslaughter, each of which can carry a potential prison sentence or even a mandatory sentence upon conviction as charged. These cases must be addressed as soon as possible, and we urge you to act promptly.

We are often asked if a lawyer is necessary for a DUI charge. A conviction for DUI remains on a person’s record for 75 years in the State of Florida. Almost all states in the United States are connected by computer and honor other State’s suspensions. Because of the strict legal requirements on proof in a DUI case it is extremely beneficial to at least consult with a DUI defense attorney about your case. There is no fee to meet with us for a comprehensive consultation. The time is well spent talking about the particular aspects of your case, the different alternatives, and defenses which may be available to you. DUI is a large part of our practice and we have a great deal of experience in motions, negotiation, and trial of these cases.

We will be glad to speak with you about your particular case and what defenses and options may be available to you. Contact us. We can help.

DUI Interlock

The State of Florida has passed a law which requires an interlock device be placed on vehicles of certain people convicted of DUI. The program began July 1, 2003 and may affect you. If an interlock device is required there are additional costs of purchasing the device and monthly monitoring costs which may be involved should someone be convicted of DUI. A Judge may always order an interlock device. It is not presently required on a first conviction with a breath test reading of under a .15. An interlock device may be required on any other type of DUI conviction. It is important to discuss these possibilities in evaluation and defending your case. Please call us to discuss the interlock program.

Minimum Penalties for DUI as set out in the DHSMV Drivers Manual.

This summary was prepared by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and should be used for reference only. Please refer to the full text of any laws referenced below for complete and comprehensive legal information.

 

Under Florida law, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or an unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven.

DUI fine schedule, per section 316.193, Florida Statutes.

  • First conviction:
    • Not less than $500 or more than $1,000 plus court costs which usually are about $400.00.
    • If blood/breath alcohol level (BAL) was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $1,000 plus costs or more than $2,000.
  • Second conviction:
    • Not less than $1,000 plus costs or more than $2,000.
    • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $2,000 or more than $4,000.
  • Third conviction (within 10 years from the second offense):
    • Not less than $2,000 plus court costs or more than $5,000.
    • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $4,000.
  • Third conviction (more than 10 years from second):
    • Not less than $2,000 plus court costs or more than $5,000.
    • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $4,000.
  • Fourth or subsequent conviction: 
    • Not less than $2,000 plus court costs.
    • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $4,000.

Jail as part of a sentence on DUI

It is important to know that at the court’s discretion, a mandatory jail sentence may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program and credited toward the term of imprisonment if the Judge agrees.

  • First conviction:
    •  No mandatory jail sentence and the maximum Jail is for not more than six months.
    • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, maximum jail increases to not more than nine months.
  • Second conviction:
    • Jail sentence for up to  nine months.
    • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, jail for not more than 12 months.
    • If second DUI arrest was within five years of a prior conviction, mandatory jail is imposed of at least 10 days. This can be credited by residential treatment of at least 10 days.
  • Third conviction:
    • If third DUI arrest is within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction, the sentence must include mandatory jail of at least 30 days or a residential program if the Judge accepts it.  Jail can be up to one year.
    • If the third DUI arrest is more than 10 years from a prior   DUI conviction, the minimum jail sentence does not apply, however a person can be sentenced from probation up to 12 months jail.
  • Fourth or subsequent conviction:
    • Imprisonment for not more than five years.

Impoundment or Immobilization of Vehicle

Unless the family of the defendant has no other transportation:

  • First conviction = 10 days impoundment;
  • Second conviction within five years of a prior conviction= 30 days;
  • Third conviction within 10 years of a prior conviction = 90 days.

DUI Crash Involving Property Damage or Personal Injury

Any person who causes property damage or personal injury to another while driving under the influence is guilty of a first degree misdemeanor (not more than $1,000 fine or one-year imprisonment).

Felony DUI 

  • Any person convicted of a third DUI within 10 years of a prior conviction or a fourth or subsequent DUI, is guilty of committing a third degree felony
  • Any person who causes serious bodily injury while driving under the influence is guilty of committing a third degree felony
  • Any person convicted of a fourth DUI no matter when the prior three occurred is guilty of a felony of the third degree.

Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide

  • DUI Manslaughter is a Second degree felony (up to $10,000 fine and/or 15 years imprisonment).
  • Vehicular Homicide is a  Second degree felony (up to $10,000 fine and/or 15 years imprisonment).

Driver License Revocation Periods for DUI

  • First offense without bodily injury: Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum one year.
  • First offense with bodily injury: Minimum three years revocation.
  • Second offense within five years from prior conviction: Minimum five years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after one year.
  • Second offense five or more years after first conviction, the same revocation periods as first offense apply.
  • Third offense within 10 years of the second conviction: Minimum 10 years revocation. May be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after two years.
  • Third offense 10 or more years after the second conviction, the same revocation periods as first offense apply.
  • Fourth conviction, regardless of when prior convictions occurred: Mandatory permanent revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after five years. If incarcerated, the revocation period begins upon date of release from incarceration.
  • DUI manslaughter: Mandatory permanent revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after five years, if there are no prior DUI related convictions.
  • Manslaughter, DUI serious bodily injury or vehicular homicide convictions: Minimum three years revocation. DUI serious bodily injury having prior DUI conviction is the same as second – fourth bullet above.