What's a DUI Charge?
A Florida driving under the influence (DUI) conviction could lead to a driver’s license suspension, a fine, and in some situations, time in jail for the convicted. Although these are strict penalties, did you know that the circumstances surrounding the conviction could lead to greater penalties for the convicted? In this blog post, First Coast Criminal Defense will discuss the scenarios where Florida DUI penalties could increase for the accused.
Do You Have a History of DUIs?
The first circumstance that can increase the severity of a Florida DUI charge is the accused’s history of DUI convictions. If the accused has a history of DUIs, the current DUI charge he or she is facing can become more severe both in charge and in penalties.
First-Time DUI Charges in FL
A first- time DUI is considered a misdemeanor charge that could result in a fine of not less than $500, but not more than $1,000. Additionally, someone convicted of a first-time DUI could face up to 6 months of imprisonment.
Second-Offense DUI Charge in FL
While these penalties are severe, they increase with every subsequent DUI conviction. For example, a second-time Florida DUI is still considered a misdemeanor charge, but it could result in a fine of not less than $1,000, but not more than $2,000. Additionally, someone convicted of a second-time DUI could face up to 9 months in prison.
Florida Third-Offense DUI Charge
If someone commits a third DUI within ten years of a previous DUI conviction, then the penalties and DUI charges increase drastically. A third-time DUI charge that occurs within ten years of a previous conviction is considered a third-degree felony.
This felony charge could result in a fine of not more than $5,000. Additionally, someone convicted of a third-time DUI could face up to five years of imprisonment and could face a mandatory prison sentence of 30 days if the third DUI occurs within ten years of a previous DUI conviction.
DUI Penalties in FL
Here is a shorter version of the possible penalties of a Florida DUI charge depending on prior DUI convictions:
- Misdemeanor charge, $500-$1,000 fine, possible imprisonment of not more than six months
- Misdemeanor charge, $1,000-$2,000 fine, possible imprisonment of not more than nine months
- Third-degree felony charge, $2,000-$5,000 fine, possible imprisonment of not more than a year
How are Driving Privileges Affected by DUI?
In addition to criminal penalties, DUI convictions will impact driving privileges in the following ways:
1st DUI: Minimum of six months driver’s license (DL) suspension. If you blow over a 0.15%, an interlock device has to be drilled into your steering column and you have to pay nearly $100 a week for a minimum of 6 months.
2nd DUI and the prior conviction is within 5 years of the new arrest: 5 year DL suspension.
3rd DUI and one of the prior convictions is within 10 years of the new arrest date: 10 year DL suspension.
4th or subsequent: permanent suspension (which means it’s a Third Degree Felony to ever drive again).
Now that we’ve covered how a prior history of DUIs can impact a new DUI charge, we can now examine how other circumstances may increase penalties or charges.
Excessive BAC in FL
If someone is driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher, by law, that person is driving while under the influence. While a 0.08% BAC is enough for a Florida DUI charge, a 0.15% BAC can increase the potential penalties of a Florida DUI charge.
A 0.15% BAC can increase DUI penalties in the following ways:
By a fine of:
1. Not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 for a first conviction.
2. Not less than $2,000 or more than $4,000 for a second conviction.
3. Not less than $4,000 for a third or subsequent conviction.
By imprisonment for:
1. Not more than nine months for a first conviction.
2. Not more than 12 months for a second conviction.
DUI with Minor in the Vehicle
If someone is charged with a DUI while having a minor in the vehicle, he or she could face stricter penalties for putting the minor in danger. Therefore, a DUI charge that involves a passenger under the age of 18 could increase penalties for the driver. The increased penalties are the same as the “excessive BAC” penalties mentioned above.
Aggravating Factors That Could Increase DUI Penalties
DUI crash involving property damage or personal injury:
- First-degree misdemeanor, less than $1,000 fine, possible one year of imprisonment.
DUI crash involving serious bodily injury:
- Third-degree felony, less than $5,000 fine, and less than five years of imprisonment.
- Second-degree felony, less than $10,000 fine, and less than 15 years of imprisonment.
DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene:
- First-degree felony, less than $10,000 fine, and less than 30 years of imprisonment.
Need Representation for Your Charges?
DUI convictions can impact employment opportunities, finances, and other personal endeavors in addition to criminal charges. If you need experienced DUI defense on your side, look no further than First Coast Criminal Defense. Regardless of the charges made against you, our DUI attorneys are ready to defend your case.
Call (904) 474-3115 now for a free consultation!