If you are charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), it is critical that you speak with an experienced attorney to protect your rights. A DUI is a criminal offense that can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. There are different penalties depending on the type of DUI and whether it is a first or subsequent offense. A conviction will affect your liberty, reputation, insurance, and driving privileges for years to come.
To prove a DUI in Florida the prosecution must prove that:
The person drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle, and
While driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle, the person either
Was under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substances set forth in 877.111, or controlled substances in 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired; or
Had a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or higher.
First Offense Misdemeanor DUI –
By statute you can face up to 6 months in jail.
By statute a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000.
By statute Probation, which includes:
substance abuse course, evaluation and treatment, 50 hours community service, 10 day vehicle impoundment
Penalties can be higher for a BAC of 0.15% or higher, property damage, and serious bodily injury
But typically a first time offender receives (Polk County):
12 months probation (required by statute)
6 month driver’s license suspension (required by statute)
50 hours community service (required by statute)
Victim Impact Panel (required by statute)
DUI School (required by statute)
Alcohol evaluation and any recommended treatment (required by statute)
10 day vehicle impound (required by statute)
Adjudication of guilt
Second Offense DUI –
By statute a second conviction results in jail for up to 9 months, and higher fines of no less than $1,000 and no more than $2000.
Probation is required with essentially the same conditions listed above.
If the conviction is within 5 years of the first conviction, you must go to jail for at least 10 days, you may lose your driver’s license for 5 years or more, the vehicle impoundment is 30 days, and a 1 year interlock device.
Third Offense DUI –
If the third offense is within 10 years, it becomes a third degree felony, which means you face up to 5 years prison.
If the third offense is outside of 10 years, then it remains a misdemeanor. It this case the fines are between $2,000 and $5,000 and jail is no more than 12 months. By statute you will also be required to have an interlock device for 2 years.
Subsequent Offenses –
- Fourth and subsequent offenses become third degree felonies.
Can I refuse to take a breath test?
Yes you can, the first time. Just know that a refusal results in an automatic 1 year driver’s license suspension.
The second refusal can be a criminal offense and punishable by up to 1 year in county jail.
We will aggressively defend your DUI case. There are numerous defenses available, including, challenging the results of breath or blood tests, suppressing evidence due to an invalid stop or lack of consent, and improper field sobriety exercises.