Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is a crime in Florida. The severity of the charges and penalties upon conviction depend on the nature of the alleged crime. Below is an overview of the most common types of DUI charges in Florida and the standard penalties associated with conviction.
First DUI Offense
According to Florida DUI laws, driving with a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or higher is considered operating under the influence. A person convicted of a first DUI offense – considered a misdemeanor crime – will be subject to fines between $500 and $1,000.
A first time DUI offender may also receive up to six months imprisonment and 50 hours of community service. A person who was driving with a BAL of .15 or higher or with minors in the vehicle may face increased fines and prison time.
Second DUI Offense
A person who is convicted of a second DUI offense will face a $1,000 to $2,000 fine and as much as nine months imprisonment.
A second DUI conviction also includes penalties such as:
- community service;
- DUI driving school; and
- driver’s license suspension.
Additionally, the offender must pay to install a mandatory ignition interlock device on his or her leased or owned vehicle for one year.
Third DUI Offense
A third DUI conviction that occurs within 10 years of any prior DUI conviction is a third-degree felony offense. A third DUI conviction in 10 years is punishable with up to $5,000 in fines and as much as five years imprisonment.
A third DUI conviction that takes place more than 10 years since the previous conviction is subject to $2,000 to $5,000 in fines and up to one year imprisonment. Both levels of third-time DUI conviction are subject to a mandatory ignition interlock device for a period of two years.
Fourth DUI Offense
A person convicted of four or more DUIs – regardless of the timeline of conviction – has committed a third-degree felony. These convictions carry a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to five years imprisonment, as well as a lifetime driver’s license suspension.
DUI is considered a misdemeanor crime in many cases.
However, the charges will be elevated to felony DUI in certain cases, including:
- conviction of a third DUI offense within 10 years of a prior conviction;
- a fourth (or greater) DUI conviction;
- any DUI accident that results in serious bodily injury; and
- any DUI accident that results in the death of another person or unborn child.
The severity of charges and penalties often is dependent upon the person’s previous record of convictions and the BAL at the time of arrest.
DUI manslaughter occurs when a person is driving under the influence and causes an accident that results in the death of another person or an unborn child. DUI manslaughter is a first- or second-degree felony depending on the circumstances of the case.
For example, fleeing the scene of a fatal DUI accident would elevate the charges. A DUI manslaughter conviction is subject to as much as 30 years or more imprisonment and $10,000 in fines.
If you have been charged with a DUI and are attempting to plead down the charges, contact a defense attorney. Call 877-663-5110.