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Why Not All DUI Charges Are The Same

police bringing handcuffed man to back of cop car

Whether driving under the influence of alcohol or using drugs and then driving, being charged with a DUI can mean a hefty consequence. Not all DUI offenses, however, end with the same punishment.

What are Florida DUI Laws?

In Florida, someone is considered driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or if they are impaired from using illegal or harmful substances. There are several factors that come into play when determining the punishment for a DUI offense.

  • How many offenses does the driver have? If it’s their first offense, the consequence usually won’t be as severe compared to a driver and their second, third or more offense.
  • What was the BAC? If the driver has a BAC higher than a .15% or the driver was under the influence with a minor in the vehicle, the driver could be charged with an aggravated DUI and have more serious consequences. For minor drivers, they wouldn’t be charged criminally but could face license suspensions for a BAC higher than .02%

What are the Consequences For a DUI?

According to Florida Highway Safety and Moter Vehicles, convictions for misdemeanor DUI charges are consistent depending on how many convicted offenses the driver has committed.

  • 1st Offense — a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time up to six months. If no one was injured when the driver was pulled over, the driver’s license is suspended for up to one year.
  • 2nd Offense — a fine of up to $2,000 and jail time up to nine months. If the second conviction was within five years of the first DUI conviction, the driver is not eligible to have their license reinstated for a minimum of five years unless they qualify for hardship reinstatement after one year.
  • 3rd Offense — a fine of up to $5,000. If the third conviction is within 10 years of a prior conviction, the driver must spend at least 30 in jail and 48 hours of that in consecutive confinement. A third conviction within 10 years also means a driver’s license is revoked for a minimum of 10 years but a driver can ask for hardship reinstatement after two years.
  • 4th and any Additional Offenses — a minimum fine of $2,000 and jail time up to five years. If a driver faces a fourth DUI conviction, no matter how long ago their previous convictions were, they will have their license suspended indefinitely.

Felony DUI convictions face even harsher penalties including mandatory imprisonment according to the Florida Statues.

If you or a loved one is facing a DUI you’ll want an attorney who knows the laws and can help you fight your case. At First Coast Criminal Defense our experienced Florida attorneys go the extra mile and have the experience you need. Receive a complimentary case evaluation today by calling (904) 474-3115.