DUI

Understanding Florida DUI Arrest Charges

By
Gregory Salnick
on
August 5, 2019

Not only do drunk driving victims experience life changing consequences, but a DUI conviction in Florida can have devastating impact on the lives of defendants and their families. They may face massive fines, the loss of their license and even jail time. If you have been charged with a DUI in Florida, A Florida DUI attorney can look at your case and develop defenses to protect your freedom and your family’s future.

Getting A DUI In Florida

In Florida, an individual is guilty of driving under the influence when they operate or control a vehicle while having a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or a breathalyzer reading of at least 0.08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

A vehicle does not have to be in motion. The statutory language, “actual physical control,” means that an intoxicated person sitting in the driver’s seat with keys to turn on the car could also face DUI charges.

Even in those cases, those charged with a DUI should consult with a Florida criminal defense attorney.

Impact of a Florida DUI Charge

If you have been accused of a DUI in Florida, do not underestimate the severity of the charges that you face. Depending on the nature of the violation, your may face the following:

  • License suspension or revocation
  • Jail time
  • Significant fines and court costs
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Ignition interlock
  • Victim impact programming
  • Probationary supervision

Many Florida DUI cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors, however, there are some situations in which a DUI can be prosecuted as a felony. You should speak with an experienced Florida DUI lawyer to learn about the severity of your charges and the best available defenses.

DUI Charges In Florida

Every DUI case is different, and the outcome depends largely on the facts of each individual case. However, Florida law lays out the different charges that a driver may face when caught driving under the influence.

First Florida DUI Conviction

If you have been charged with your first DUI in Florida, you could be facing fines, jail time and additional penalties. Below is a breakdown of penalties for first time DUI convictions:

Fines

  • Blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher: $500 - $1,000
  • Blood alcohol level greater than 0.15, or driving with a minor in the car: $1,000 - $2,000

Jail Time

  • Blood alcohol level of 0.08: 8 hours - 6 months
  • Blood alcohol level greater than 0.15, or if you were driving under the influence with a minor in the car: maximum jail time is nine months.

Additional Penalties

  • Mandatory 50 hours of community service
  • Probation up to one year
  • Vehicle impounded for 10 days
  • Revocation of driver’s license for 6 months to 1 year

Second Florida DUI Conviction

A conviction for a second Florida DUI is treated with greater penalty. Below is a break down of the fines, prison terms and additional penalties you may face for a second DUI:

Fines

  • Minimum fine of $1,000 - $2,000
  • If blood alcohol level was 0.15 or higher, the fine is $2,000 - $4,000

Jail Time

  • Imprisonment up to 9 months
  • If blood alcohol level is greater than 0.15%, or if the DUi resulted in a car accident, jail time may be increased to 1 year
  • Mandatory imprisonment for at least 10 days if the second DUI occurred within 5 years of the first DUI conviction

Additional Penalties

  • 180 days to 1 year on probation
  • Revocation of driver’s license for up to 5 years
  • 30 day vehicle impound
  • Ignition interlock
  • Florida DUI school
  • Financial restitution for any victims injured or involved in a DUI accident

Third Florida DUI Conviction

If you have been convicted of two DUIs, the third conviction will carry significantly harsher penalties. Below is a breakdown of the penalties that a third time offender may face:

Fines

  • Minimum fine of $2,000 - $5,000
  • If blood alcohol level was 0.15 or higher, the minimum fine is $4,000

Jail Time

  • Imprisonment up to 5 years
  • Mandatory imprisonment for at least 30 days if the third DUI occurred within 10 years of the previous DUI conviction

Additional Penalties

  • Permanent felony conviction if third DUI occurred within 10 years of previous DUI
  • 180 days to 1 year on probation
  • Revocation of driver’s license for up to 10 years
  • 90 day vehicle impound
  • Ignition interlock
  • Florida DUI school
  • Financial restitution for any victims injured or involved in a DUI accident

Fourth Florida DUI Conviction

Those facing a fourth DUI conviction can expect to receive an even harsher sentencing. Not only do repeat DUI offenders face lengthy jail time, but they may lose their license for life. Below is a breakdown of the fines and jail time that fourth time offenders may face:

Fines

  • Minimum fine of $2,000 - $5,000
  • If blood alcohol level was 0.15 or higher, the minimum fine is $4,000

Jail Time

  • Imprisonment up to 5 years

Additional Penalties

  • Permanent felony conviction
  • Up to 5 years on probation
  • Lifetime revocation of driver’s license
  • 90 day vehicle impound
  • Ignition interlock
  • Florida DUI school
  • Financial restitution for any victims injured or involved in a DUI accident

Defenses To DUI Charges

If you are facing a DUI charge, there may be a number of available defenses to help mitigate the consequences of your DUI charge. For example, a skilled Florida DUI attorney can attack the legality of the initial traffic stop, question the accuracy of the blood alcohol test, question to the reliability of the evidence, challenge the credibility of the arresting officer’s determination that you were impaired.

Hiring an attorney immediately after a DUI arrest can help you understand your DUI charges and potential defenses to those charges.

Contact A West Palm Beach DUI Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a DUI in Florida, it is critical that you contact a Florida DUI attorney immediately. Florida DUI penalties can be severe and can negatively affect your life and your family’s life for years to come. Hiring a Florida criminal defense attorney can help protect your freedom and your future.

Contact the Florida criminal defense attorneys at Salnick & Fuchs, P.A. today by using the form below.

Gregory Salnick

Mr. Salnick is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. He began his legal career at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted over 90 jury trials, ranging from DUI to murder, armed robbery and drug trafficking. Mr. Salnick quickly gained a reputation as a tenacious and ethical attorney at law. Mr. Salnick now serves as state and federal criminal defense attorney at Salnick & Fuchs, P.A.

Call Greg Salnick today at
561-471-1000