No matter your previous driving record, a first DUI conviction can result in serious Florida DUI penalties. Florida has strict laws for the punishment of DUI offenses and many of the penalties can have a serious impact on your present life and your future driving experience. A DUI defense lawyer in Miami can help you seek a lesser penalty or attempt to have charges dropped, but you must work quickly to avoid damaging your case.
General Florida DUI Penalties for a First DUI Conviction
The Florida statutes outline a series of Florida DUI penalties that are generally applied to all first DUI conviction cases. These statutes set forth the maximum and minimum penalties that must be applied in a first DUI conviction, meaning a DUI defense lawyer in Miami can often negotiate a lower penalty.
A first DUI conviction in Florida can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances in the arrest. If you caused property damage, it is a misdemeanor of the 1st degree. If you caused serious bodily injury to another, it is a 3rd degree felony. The Florida DUI penalties for any incident that resulted in the death of another party is a felony of either the 1st or 2nd degree.
The minimum Florida DUI penalties you will face are fines from $500-$1,000, 50 hours of community service, up to 1 year of probation, and up to 6 months of jail time. There is also a minimum 180 days of revocation of your driver’s license and 12 hours of a DUI education program.
Aside from the damages resulting from your DUI incident, another parameter that will affect your penalties on your first DUI conviction is your reported Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) and the occupants of your car. If your BAL was 0.15 or higher and/or if there was a minor in the vehicle, the jail time increases to a minimum of 9 months and fines increase to a minimum $1,000 and a maximum $2,000.
Additional Repercussions of a First DUI Conviction
Your vehicle may be impounded for 10 days unless your family has no other transportation available. A first DUI conviction also goes on your criminal record and can impair you from obtaining a job or renting property depending on the rules for background checks performed by employers or property managers.
If your Florida DUI penalties are assessed for an incident where you were driving a commercial motor vehicle, there is a chance you may be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for 1 year. While you may be able to apply for a hardship license for driving a personal vehicle during license suspension, there are no hardship provisions for commercial motor vehicles.
These Florida DUI penalties can create present problems as well as lasting repercussions. To minimize the impact a first DUI conviction has on your life, talk to a DUI defense lawyer in Miami. An experienced lawyer will know the tricks and tactics of DUI defense that can help you reduce your Florida DUI penalties.