A DUI in the State of Florida is defined as an offense in which the operator of a motor vehicle has a blood alcohol level greater than or equal to .08. The manner in which the offense is proven may vary, but once convicted, offenders are subject to the same penalties.
First Time DUI Offenders
A 1st conviction results in the impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle. The exception, being if the defendant’s family has no other means of transportation. The impoundment or immobilization shall not occur at the same time as incarceration. If the vehicle is operated solely by the employees of the defendant or by a business owned by the defendant, the court may dismiss the order of impoundment.
Additionally, the drivers license of the offender will be revoked for a minimum period of 180 days and a maximum of 1 year.
The minimum fine imposed is $500 and the the maximum, $1000. For offenders whose blood alcohol level is equal to or greater than .15, a minimum fine of $1000 is imposed and the fine should not exceed $2,000. In addition to the fine, offenders receive 50 hours of mandatory community service or an additional fine of $10 for each hour of service required.
The total period of incarceration or probation for first time offenders shall not exceed 1 year. The sentence can be served at a residential alcohol and drug abuse treatment program at the discretion of the court. This is credited towards the term of imprisonment. For offenders with no prior convictions and a blood alcohol level less than .15, imprisonment shall last no longer than 6 months. Offenders with no prior convictions whose blood alcohol exceeds .15 or had a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, imprisonment shall not exceed a period of 9 months.
Second DUI Conviction
If the Second Conviction is within 5 years of the first, the drivers vehicle shall be impounded for a period of 30 days. The person may be imprisoned for up to 9 months and if their blood alcohol level was greater than .15 or they had a minor in the vehicle, no more than 12 months. Regardless, a second conviction within 5 years of the first results in mandatory imprisonment for 10 days in which 2 days of the imprisonment must be served consecutively. As with first time offenders, the court has the discretion to credit time at an abuse treatment program towards time served. Additionally, a conviction within 5 years of the first the license of the offender is revoked for a minimum of 5 years with possible eligibility for hardship reinstatement after 1 calendar year. Fines for 2nd Convictions are as follows: minimum of $1,000 and maximum of $2,000 . If blood alcohol level exceeded .15 or a minor was in vehicle, the minimum and maximum fines are doubled to $2,000 and $4,000 respectively.
Third DUI Conviction
If the Third Conviction is within 10 years of the second, the drivers vehicle shall be impounded for a period of 90 days. The driver is also charged with a Felony DUI. As with 1st and 2nd Convictions, impounded must not occur simultaneously with incarceration, in which a mandatory imprisonment of 30 days is served, with 2 days of consecutive time served. Additionally, the license of the offender is revoked for a minimum of 10 years, with the eligibility for hardship reinstatement after 2 years. If the conviction was more than 10 years after the previous conviction, imprisonment shall not last more than 12 months. The fines for 3rd convictions more than 10 years from the 2nd conviction are no less than $2,000 and no more than $5,000. If the blood alcohol level was greater than .15 or a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, a minimum fine of $4,000 is imposed.
Fourth and Subsequent DUI Convictions
Offenders are categorized by the State of Florida as habitual/violent offenders and the penalties are significantly steeper, with the mandatory permanent revocation of the license and the possibility of up to 5 years of incarceration.
There a number of circumstances in which additional charges are brought upon the offender, for which additional punishment is probable. Cases involving accidents that result in property damage, bodily injury or death, carry stiffer penalties. Offenders being charged with vehicular homicide or manslaughter can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and 30 years in prison if they left the scene of the accident. The fines under these conditions shall not exceed $10,000.
Summing it Up
DUI Penalties are dependent on a number of conditions including but not limited to:
- The record of the driver
- Whether any other crimes were committed in the process
- The blood alcohol level of the driver
- Compliance with hardship reinstatement policies (ie: Fines,Alcohol Programs, Interlock Device)
- The presence of a minor in the vehicle
- The age of the Driver: Were they of legal drinking age?
DUI offenses are time consuming and require immediate action. Visit The Law Office Of Jerry Jenkins for a case evaluation or to learn more about DUI law in Florida.