When you are arrested for a DUI in Florida, the penalties typically depend on the type of DUI you are charged with. The type of DUI you are charged with will depend on your blood alcohol level, whether anyone was injured or killed, whether there was any property damage, and whether you have any prior DUI convictions on your record.
The types of DUIs you can be charged with include:
- First-time DUI: if you have no prior DUI convictions and no other criminal activity on your record, you may face penalties for a first-time DUI. These penalties are usually less severe and serve as a warning to offenders.
- Second DUI: if you have one DUI and receive a second one within five years, it counts as a second DUI conviction and may carry harsher penalties. However, if it has been more than five years since your first conviction, it does not count as a second DUI.
- Third DUI or more: three or more DUI convictions within five years count as multiple DUIs and could label you a repeat offender. These convictions often carry severe penalties.
- DUI manslaughter: if anyone dies due to driving under the influence, you could be charged with DUI manslaughter, a second-degree felony.
- DUI with property damage or injury: driving under the influence and causing harm to another person or property damage is a misdemeanor.
What Are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI?
In Florida, a first-time DUI conviction carries penalties like fines up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, 50 hours of community service, and losing your driver’s license for six months. However, if you have no criminal record or prior convictions, fines and jail time could be lowered. The court may also order you to attend a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program or drunk driving school to discourage you from driving under the influence again.
In most cases, first-time offenders are sentenced with rehabilitation in mind. The court will aim to enforce penalties to discourage you from driving under the influence again without totally disrupting your life. If you did not injure or kill anyone while driving under the influence, your penalties will likely be much less severe.
What Are the Penalties for Repeat DUIs?
Second and third DUI convictions carry harsher penalties than first-time DUIs. If you are convicted a second or third time, you could face fines of up to $4,000 and up to 12 months in jail. You may also lose your license for an extended period of time, especially if you refuse a chemical test upon arrest.
If you are convicted of a fourth DUI, you may be charged with a third-degree felony. This conviction carries much more significant fines and more jail time and could also include a five to ten-year suspension of your license. In the state of Florida, you may also be labeled a “habitual offender.” Habitual offenders face much harsher penalties, up to and including life in jail.
What Are the Penalties for an Aggravated DUI?
An aggravated DUI is classified as a DUI with aggravating factors. An aggravated DUI is typically classified as a felony and carries more severe penalties.
Below are aggravating factors that could constitute an aggravated DUI:
- Driving under the influence with children in the vehicle
- Driving with a suspended license
- Repeated DUI offense
- Causing bodily harm to another person
- Excessive speeding or reckless driving
- Driving over two times the legal limit
Penalties for an aggravated DUI can include up to a $5,000 fine, five years in prison, required DUI school, an impounded vehicle, and a license revocation for life. If you have been charged with an aggravated DUI, contact a defense attorney immediately for assistance.
Should I Hire a Defense Attorney for a DUI Case?
Being charged with a DUI can have severe consequences, even if it is your first offense. Being convicted of multiple DUIs can disrupt your life and lead to hefty fines and long stints in jail. Hiring a defense attorney is the best way to negotiate with prosecutors and defend yourself in court to avoid harsh penalties. Contact The Defense Group today by calling 407-743-8430.