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Understanding the Consequences of a DUI Charge in Florida

Understanding the Consequences of a Dui Charge in Florida Hanlon Law Sarasota July 23 2024

Driving under the influence is a serious crime in Florida, and it results in hundreds of fatalities each year. If you are caught, multiple sanctions can be implemented against you. The consequences depend on the amount of alcohol in your system, whether this was your first offense, and the severity of the offense.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the different sanctions available for those convicted of driving under the influence. We’ll also discuss how a DUI can impact your life long-term and what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

What Constitutes a DUI Charge?

According to the Florida Statutes under Section 316.193, a person is penalized for driving under the influence when their blood alcohol level is 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or higher, or their breath alcohol level is 0.08 grams per 210 liters of breath.

Typically, people are arrested for this offense when their normal functions are impaired.

Different Sanctions of DUI

Depending on the severity of the offense, a DUI can be punishable by anything from a slap on the wrist to years in prison. The most common sanctions are:

  • Probation
  • License suspension
  • Community service
  • Alcohol education classes
  • Fines and court costs
  • Jail time

Probation is usually given to first-time offenders, lasting anywhere from a few months to several years. In Florida, first and second offenses receive up to a year of probation. For further offenses, you can receive up to 5 years of probation. You will be required to report to a probation officer regularly during this time. You may be subject to random drug and alcohol testing. If you violate the terms of your probation, you could be sent to jail.

License suspension is another standard penalty for those convicted of DUI. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which requires you to blow into it before the car starts.

  • For the first offense: Your license will be suspended between 1-3 years.
  • For the second offense: Your license will be suspended for a minimum of 5 years.
  • For the third offense: Your license will be suspended for a minimum of 10 years.
  • For the fourth or subsequent offense: Your license will be permanently suspended with the chance at hardship renewal

Community service is often ordered as a punishment for those convicted of DUI. You may be required to perform a certain number of hours of community service, which can be anything from cleaning up litter to working at a local food bank. In Florida, the law typically requires up to 50 hours of community service.

Alcohol education classes are also often ordered for those convicted of DUI. These classes typically last for a few weeks or months and are designed to educate you about the risks of drinking and driving. Regardless of the amount of offenses, Florida law typically requires alcohol education classes for those convicted of a DUI charge.

Fines and court costs can vary depending on the severity of the offense.

  • For the first offense: The fines are between $500 to $1,000. If the blood alcohol or breath alcohol levels (BAL) are .15 or higher, or there was a minor in the vehicle, the fines are between $1,000 to $2,000.
  • For the second offense: The fines are between $1,000 to $2,000. If the BAL is .15 or higher, or there was a minor in the vehicle, the fines are between $2,000 to $4,000.
  • For the third offense: The fines are between $2,000 to $5,000. If the BAL is .15 or higher, or there was a minor in the vehicle, the minimum fine is $4,000.
  • For the fourth or subsequent offense: The fines are between $2,000 to $5,000.

Jail time is the most severe punishment for those convicted of DUI, ranging from a few days to several years. In some states, first-time offenders may be eligible for a jail sentence that is served on weekends or at night so they can continue to work or go to school during the week.

  • For the first offense: You will face jail time of up to 6 months. If a minor was in the vehicle or the BAL was .15 or higher, you will face jail time of up to 9 months.
  • For the second offense: You will face jail time of up to 9 months. If a minor was in the vehicle or the BAL was .15 or higher, you will face jail time of up to 12 months.
  • For the third offense: You will face jail time of up to 5 years. If the offense occurred within 10 years of the previous conviction, you will face a mandatory sentence of at least 30 days.
  • For the fourth or subsequent offense: You will face jail time of up to 5 years.

A DUI Can Impact Your Life Long-Term

A DUI can have several long-term effects on your life, even after you have served your sentence. For one, it will remain on your criminal record for several years, making it difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, or obtain a professional license. For some cases, a DUI will remain on your permanent record. Additionally, your insurance rates will likely increase, and you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

What To Do If You Are Charged With DUI

If you are charged with DUI, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights. An attorney can advise you of your best course of action and help you understand the different sanctions available.

Criminal defense attorneys are skilled in DUI cases, and know the best legal defenses to use in these situations. If you find yourself accused of this crime, it’s best to contact a trusted attorney.

At Hanlon Law, our legal team understands how devastating a DUI charge can be. We have years of experience defending cases like these, and we want to help you if you find yourself in this situation.

Contact our team today for a free consultation where we can help you defend your rights.

Hanlon Law
1605 Main St Ste 1115
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 462-1789
https://www.sarasotadefenseattorney.com

Attorney Will Hanlon
Attorney Will Hanlonhttps://www.criminalattorneytampa.net/
As a native Floridian and criminal defense attorney, my family history in Tampa spans generations. Since being admitted to The Florida Bar almost 20 years ago, I founded Hanlon Law and have gained extensive legal experience in criminal courtrooms in and around Tampa and throughout Florida.

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