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  • DUI & DWI in Florida

    Arrested for a DUI or DWI?

    Get a Free Court Case Consultation from a Local Florida DUI Attorney:

    Because drinking and driving is so dangerous, the penalties for doing so are extremely harsh in Florida. The state is serious about curbing injuries and deaths from alcohol-related crashes. The more DUIs you receive, the worse the penalties become. Not to mention the fact that both the courts and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, will have a say in what happens to you after you are stopped for driving under the influence.

    Driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance. Those under 21 years old will be charged with a DUI if their BAC is 0.02% or over and commercial drivers will be charged if their BAC is 0.04% or over.

    First DUI Conviction in Florida

    Even your 1st DUI conviction can be costly both in time, fines and living with the consequences. The courts (criminal penalties) and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (Administrative penalties) can take actions such as:

    Administrative Penalties

    • Driver's license suspension/revocation: 180 days to 1 year
    • DUI Program (if required) and fee: $15
    • Administrative fee: $130.
    • Driver's license reinstatement fee:
      • Suspension: $45
      • Revocation: $75.
    • Maintain FR-44 for 3 years
    • Ignition Interlock Device and fee of $12 i(f granted a restricted driver's license).

    Criminal Penalties

    • Fines of $500 to $1,000.
      • If you have a BAL of .15% or higher, or had a minor in the car, the fine will range between $1,000 and $2,000.
    • Community service. Mandatory 50 hours, or an additional fine equaling $10 per required community service hour.
    • Probation of no more than 1 year.
    • Jail time of up to 6 months. For BAL of .15% or higher, the sentence could last 9 months.
    • Vehicle impoundment for 10 days (not counted during your incarceration)
    • Ignition Interlock Device.

    Second DUI Conviction

    Administrative Penalties

    • Driver's license suspension/revocation
      • Not within 5 years: 180 days to 1 year
      • Within 5 years: 5 years
    • DUI Program (if required) and fee: $15
    • Administrative fee: $130.
    • Driver's license reinstatement fee:
      • Suspension: $45
      • Revocation: $75.
    • Maintain FR-44 for 3 years
    • Ignition Interlock Device: $12 if granted a restricted driver's license.

    Criminal Penalties

    • Fines of $1,000 to $2,000. For BAL of .15% or higher, or a minor in the car, minimum $2,000 to $4,000.
    • Jail time of not more than 9 months. A BAL of .15% or higher, or driving with a minor in the car, will require up to 12 months*.
    • Vehicle impoundment for 30 days.*

    Third FL DUI Conviction

    Administrative Penalties

    • Driver's license suspension/revocation:
      • Not within 10 years: 180 days to 1 year.
      • Previous offense within 5 years: 5 years
      • Last 2 offenses within 10 years: 10 years
      • DUI Program (if required) and fee: $15
      • Administrative fee: $130.
      • Driver's license reinstatement fee:
        • Suspension: $45
        • Revocation: $75.
        • Maintain FR-44 for 3 years
        • Ignition Interlock Device: $12 if granted a restricted driver's license.

      Criminal Penalties

      • Fines of $2,000 to $5,000. If your BAL was .15% or higher or you had a minor in the vehicle, the minimum fine is $4,000.
      • Jail time. Mandatory 30 days. Depending on previous convictions the maximum jail time is 12 months.*
      • Vehicle impoundment for 90 days.*

      Fourth or Subsequent DUI Conviction

      Administrative Penalties

      • Driver's license suspension/revocation: 5 years (no hardship available)
      • DUI Program (if required) and fee: $15
      • Administrative fee: $130.
      • Driver's license reinstatement fee:
        • Suspension: $45
        • Revocation: $75.
      • Maintain FR-44 for 3 years
      • Ignition Interlock Device: $12 if granted a restricted driver's license.

      Criminal Penalties

      • Minimum $2,000 fine.
      • Jail time of up to 5 years.

      FL Drivers Younger Than 21 Years of Age

      Young drivers who are found with a BAC of 0.02% or higher are subject to an automatic Administrative suspension of 6 months by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. For most people, a single drink will put them over that limit. More than one conviction,or refusing to take a BAC test, will have you lose your license for much longer:
      • DUI 2nd offense: 1 year.
      • Refusing to take BAC test 1st offense: 1 year.
      • Refusing to take BAC test 2nd offense: 18 months.

      It Gets Worse

      The penalties listed above may sound harsh, but they're really the best-case scenario for a person who makes the decision to drink alcohol and then get into a car and drive. If you hurt someone while impaired or, worse yet, cause a death, the above penalties will seem like a slap on the wrist. DUI Misdemeanors, Felonies and Manslaughter carry extremely high penalties.
      Administrative actions alone carry permanent revocation of your license with very little hope for a hardship license within 5 years if you cause a fatality. If you have had any prior convictions for DUI you will never be allowed to possess a driver's license again. This does not include the fines of up to $10,000 you could pay or the 30 years imprisonment you may face for a DUI Manslaughter or Felony charge.

      License Reinstatements by the FL DHSMV

      Even if you haven't caused injuries or served jail time, losing your license can seriously affect other areas of your life, not the least of which is your job.

      Hardship License Reinstatement

      In some cases, it might be possible to have your suspended license reinstated for hardship purposes, meaning to drive to and from work only. You'll have to complete a DUI program and probably have an ignition interlock device installed on your car for 6 months to 5 years.

      Ignition Interlock Device

      The ignition interlock device requires the driver to give a breath sample before starting the car. If the BAC is more than 0.025%, the car will not start. The device even submits the driver to "rolling retests," meaning an alarm will sound and the driver must give a sample while operating the vehicle. Even if you don't apply for a hardship reinstatement, you'll still be required to take the DUI course and possibly use an ignition interlock device. There's no way to recover from a DUI conviction easily or quickly. The best idea is the simplest: Don't drink and drive, period. For more official details and regulations concerning DUI convictions, please see the state's website.
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