The consequences of a DUI conviction in Florida are severe. You could face jail time, even the first time you are arrested. Penalties for subsequent arrests could impact your life and your family for many years to come.
As a former State Trooper and experienced DUI defense attorney, Coy Browning thinks it’s important that everyone is aware of the penalties they face if they fail a field sobriety test and are convicted of a DUI. Knowing what you could face may deter you from ordering one more drink at the bar, or, if you are arrested, should motivate you to find the best possible defense attorney.
Penalties for a First DUI Offense
It may be the very first time you are pulled over for drunk driving, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get off with a slap on the wrist. Penalties for a first offense are up to the judge’s discretion and will be based on how much alcohol is in your system at the time of our arrest (BAC), but may include any or all of the following:
- A fine of $500-$1,000 if your BAC is less than .15%, or $1,000-$2,000 if it is .15% or higher
- Up to six months in jail for a low BAC, or up to nine months for a BAC of .15% or higher, or if a minor is in the car
- License suspension of 180 days to one year
- Vehicle impoundment or immobilization for 10 days
- 50 hours of community service
- Ignition interlock device on your car for at least six months if your BAC is .15% or higher or you were driving a minor
Your DUI defense attorney can argue on your behalf for penalties that do not infringe excessively on your ability to earn a living and support your family.
Penalties for a Second DUI Conviction
Each time you are convicted of a DUI, the penalties become more severe. For a second conviction, you face the following:
- For a BAC lower than .15%, a fine of $1,000-$2,000. If your BAC is .15% or higher or there was a minor in the vehicle, you would be fined between $2,000 and $4,000.
- Up to nine months in jail if your BAC was under .15% and up to 12 months in jail if your BAC is higher than that, or you had a minor in the car. If fewer than five years have passed since your first DUI conviction, you face mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days.
- Five-year license suspension
- Vehicle impoundment or immobilization for 30 days
- Ignition interlock device on your car for at least a year
You may be eligible for a hardship license if your driving privileges are revoked, and an attorney can help you fight for that option if your livelihood depends on being able to drive.
Penalties for Subsequent Convictions
If drunk driving arrests become a chronic problem for you, you will face more and more severe consequences, including steeper fines, more jail time, and a permanent loss of driving privileges. Penalties are even more severe if an arrest occurs within 10 years of a previous conviction. Repeat offenders will face:
- Fines as high as $5,000
- Mandatory jail time of at least 30 days if a third conviction is within 10 years of a prior conviction and up to 12 months in jail if a third conviction is more than 10 years after a prior conviction. For fourth or subsequent convictions, you face imprisonment of up to five years.
- Losing your license for 10 years for a third conviction, and permanent revocation for a fourth conviction
- Mandatory attendance at DUI school
- Vehicle impoundment or immobilization for 90 days
- Ignition interlock device on your vehicle for two to five years
How Browning Law Firm Can Help
In addition to the penalties imposed by the State of Florida, you will also face an increase in your car insurance rate, and eventually being dropped by your insurer altogether. To protect your future and your family, you must contact a DUI defense attorney when you are arrested and help him mount an aggressive defense.
Browning Law Firm protects the rights of those accused of DUI in Florida. When you contact us, we will assess your situation and offer a plan for defending you. Don’t let a one-time mistake—or a chronic problem—affect your and your family’s future. Take action to protect your rights today.