Florida DUI penalties will vary depending on a myriad of factors, including:
- Previous offenses;
- Blood-alcohol concentration at the time of arrest;
- Whether you had a minor (under 21) in the vehicle;
- Whether you were involved in a crash;
- If you were involved in a crash, whether anyone was injured.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our dedicated Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers will carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your arrest and the accusations made against you. From there, we will help you formulate a solid legal strategy that will help you toward the best possible outcome.
At minimum, a misdemeanor DUI conviction is probably going to lead to probation, fines and community service – not to mention a permanent criminal record. More serious offenses can result in jail time. Judges have a great deal of discretion, though, and there may be options to help you avoid the worst of it.
Options may include:
- Negotiate with prosecutors for lesser charge or penalties;
- Fight at trial by jury with a strong legal defense;
- Seek alternative resolution through diversion programs, etc.
Florida DUI Law
In Florida, the offense of DUI is defined in F.S. 316.193. This statute sets forth the penalties for those convicted of DUI, which may include jail time, fines and community service. Additionally, a driver’s license suspension and an administrative penalty from the Department of Motor Vehicles may be imposed. If you have refused a breathalyzer test, you may already know that your license is automatically suspended for one year. Our DUI defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale may be able to help you obtain certain driving privileges in certain circumstances.
The basic Florida DUI penalties include:
- If this is a first-time offense, you will face a fine of between $500 and $1,000. This is only if your blood-alcohol concentration is less than 0.15. You will likely be required to perform at least 50 hours of community service, and could potentially face up to six months in jail. As a first-degree misdemeanor, the maximum time behind bars would be one year.
- If this is a first offense and you have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher OR if you had a minor in the vehicle OR this is a second-time offense with a BAC of under 0.08, you will be looking at a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000. You could also face up to nine months in jail. Someone arrested for a second offense, you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. These devices will require a driver breath sample before the vehicle will start. This cost will be incurred by you.
- If this is a second offense and you had a BAC of 0.15 or higher OR you had a minor in the car, you will be facing a fine of between $2,009 and $4,000. If it’s been less than five years since your previous offense, Florida DUI law requires a minimum mandatory 10 days in jail – with at least two consecutive days served. You could be jailed for up to a full year.
- If this is your third offense and is within 10 years of the second, you will face a minimum mandatory 30 days in jail, with two days of that to be served consecutively. Maximum incarceration time is 12 months.
- If it is your fourth or subsequent conviction, your fine will be at least $2,000. More pressing, you face up to five years in prison, as this is a third-degree felony.
All penalties will be in addition to any driver’s suspension, which is handled by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Many DUI suspects also have their vehicles impounded or at least immobilized.
In the event your arrest was connected to a crash with serious injuries or a fatality, you will be facing felony charges, which carry heftier fines and much more extensive prison time. For example:
- Florida DUI resulting in serious bodily injury is a third-degree felony under F.S. 316.193(3). That means maximum penalties are a $5,000 fine and up to five years of incarceration, in addition to any administrative consequences (i.e., license suspension).
- Florida DUI manslaughter (i.e., you kill someone – including an unborn child – while driving drunk or impaired) carries a minimum mandatory four-year prison sentence, and you could be imprisoned for up to 15 years for each charge.
You should also be aware that Florida’s implied consent law – F.S. 316.1932 – holds that if you refuse a blood-alcohol test by an officer, you will automatically lose your driver’s license for one year. This is regardless of whether you are later convicted of a DUI.
Chances are, you cannot afford not to call an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney to help you formulate a strategy.
If you have been charged with DUI in Fort Lauderdale, call The Ansara Law Firm today for your free initial consultation at (954) 761-4011.