A DUI conviction in Florida has serious repercussions. Even if you are arrested for the first time, you may face prison time. Penalties for additional arrests might have a long-term effect on your life and family.
What happens to your license when you get a DUI in Florida? Coy Browning, a former State Trooper and seasoned DUI defense attorney, believes that everyone should be informed of the consequences they face if they fail a field sobriety test and are convicted of DUI. Knowing what you could potentially face may stop you from ordering another drink at the bar, or if you are arrested, it should push you to locate the best defense lawyer available in Florida.
A Reminder About the DUI Penalty in Florida
Florida, like other states, criminalizes driving while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, which is short for DUI. To establish DUI, the prosecution must demonstrate that your "normal faculties" were impaired or that your blood alcohol level (BAC) was at or above 0.08%.
The criminal consequences for a DUI in Florida are determined by numerous variables, the most significant of which are your previous DUI convictions. A fine of $500 to $1,000 is possible for your first DUI.
This fine may be imposed alone or in conjunction with a term of imprisonment of no more than six months. A second DUI entails a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 as well as a sentence of incarceration of no more than nine months.
Florida has a mandatory 10-day rule for a DUI license challenge. A third DUI involves a punishment of $2,000 to $5,000. If you get a third DUI within ten years of a previous drunk driving arrest, Florida considers it a third-degree felony.
If not, your third DUI in Florida is considered a misdemeanor. A felony DUI has a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a required minimum of 30 days behind bars. A third misdemeanor DUI might result in a year in prison.
So, When You Get a DUI, What Will Happen to Your License?
When you are arrested for DUI in Florida, you will be asked to submit a blood or breath test to determine your blood alcohol concentration. If you accept and your BAC is at a legal level, you will face the license suspensions listed above.
If you refuse to take the breath test, your driver's license will be suspended for one year. In both circumstances, law enforcement seizes your driver's license.
An expert DUI defense attorney will inform you that you only have 10 days from the date of your arrest in Florida to take action to keep your driver's license.
If you do not act to preserve your license, it may be suspended for 6 to 18 months, depending on the circumstances and your criminal past. You must not miss this 10-day window if you want to keep your driver's license.
How Long Does DUI Stay on Record in Florida and What Are the Ways to Prevent DUI from Staying on Your Record?
If you are convicted of a DUI in the state of Florida, the DUI conviction will stay on your Florida driving record for 75 years, and it will remain on your criminal record for life.
Although a DUI conviction cannot be removed from a person's criminal record, there are certain strategies to avoid having it on your record in the first place. That is why it is critical to be proactive and engage an expert DUI attorney early in the case.
DUI Pre-trial Diversion Programs That Lead to the Charge Being Dropped
A Florida pretrial diversion program may be an alternative to having a DUI on your record. If you are facing your first DUI offense in Florida, you may be qualified to participate in a diversion program.
Those charged with a second (or subsequent) DUI are ineligible for a DUI pretrial diversion program.
If you successfully complete a DUI diversion program and your case is dropped, you may be entitled to have your DUI arrest expunged.
Programs that result in a DUI charge being reduced to reckless driving
All of these programs require a person charged with DUI to complete certain requirements before pleading guilty in exchange for the State Attorney's Office agreeing to lower the DUI charge to reckless driving. To have their case reduced to reckless driving, the defendant may have to complete DUI school, complete community service hours, install an ignition interlock, and participate in a DUI victim impact panel.
Not all DUI suspects will be eligible for one of these programs. A person with a past DUI, for example, will not be eligible for any of these programs. Furthermore, some counties may not admit a motorist to the program if his or her DUI resulted in an accident or if the driver's blood alcohol level was above a specified limit.
If you meet the requirements, an expert DUI lawyer may advise you on whether one of these programs is a suitable way to settle your case.
A Request for a Lower Charge, such as for Reckless Driving or Careless Driving
Even if a person charged with DUI does not qualify for a pretrial intervention program or one of the other programs outlined above, prosecutors may agree to reduce a DUI conviction to reckless or careless driving in certain situations.
This is common when the case against the accused individual is weak. Assume that a person was stopped for a broken tail light, that the person performed pretty well on field sobriety tests, and that the person declined to provide a breath sample. In such a scenario, the prosecution may not want to go to trial since they may not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury that the motorist was intoxicated.
As a result, the prosecution may propose lowering the DUI charge to careless driving. When the evidence against a person suspected of DUI is weak, the prosecutor may downgrade the DUI charge to careless driving, which is a civil ticket rather than a criminal violation.
Every DUI case is unique. Only an expert Florida DUI lawyer can advise you on what could happen in your specific situation.
Choosing an Experienced Florida DUI Attorney
When facing a DUI arrest, hiring a lawyer is a wise move. DUI cases are difficult to navigate. They entail both administrative and criminal law concerns.
An experienced DUI attorney can assist you in navigating the processes and procedures related to your charge. A skilled DUI attorney can help you preserve your rights. A qualified DUI attorney might be the difference between a temporary inconvenience and a permanent criminal record.
Your attorney can explain all of your legal alternatives for avoiding a DUI conviction on your record. It is a good idea to seek the assistance of an attorney who has expertise or a specialty in assisting clients with DUI convictions.
Former State Trooper Coy Browning is a board-certified specialist in DUI trial law. When you contact us, we will examine your position and provide a defense strategy for you. Don't allow a single mistake—or a recurring issue—to affect your and your family's future. Take immediate action to preserve your rights.
How Browning Law Can Assist
It is critical that you act quickly in order to avoid what happens to your license when you get a DUI and further fees down the road. Being charged with any infraction may have a significant financial impact, particularly if you do not respond fast. So, receiving legal counsel as quickly as possible after an accident may be the difference between preserving your employment, gaining new chances, and avoiding a much bleaker future.
What happens to your license when you get a DUI in Florida? Call the Browning Law Firm's DUI defense team, we will take urgent action to attempt to preserve your license. Please contact our office as soon as possible after your arrest. When your license and livelihood are in jeopardy, there is no time to waste.Call for consultation today at 850-344-1736