DUI Charges in Palm Beach County
Getting charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is a serious offense and it could impact your life forever if you are convicted. Each year, states impose tougher DUI laws and more severe drunk driving penalties. Florida is no exception. This is what can happen to you for a first time DUI conviction in Florida:
- Jail – 6 Months Maximum – blood alcohol level (BAL) from .08 to less than .15
- Jail – 9 Months Maximum – BAL above .15
- Fine – From $500 to $1,000 – BAL from .08 to less than .15
- Fine – From $1,000 to $2,000 – BAL above .15 or Minor in Vehicle
- License – Suspended from 180 Days to 1 Year
- Hardship Reinstatement – Complete DUI School Prior to Hardship Application
- Ignition Interlock Device – Up to 6 Months (Hardship Reinstatement BAL above.15)
- Community Service Fine – $10 for Each Hour of Community Service Required
- Community Service – 50 Hours
- Treatment Program May Be Allowed in Lieu of Imprisonment
- Vehicle Impound – 10 Days
The State of Florida has greatly enhanced the penalties for DUI in recent years. The first conviction may result in a term of imprisonment or probation, a substantial fine, community service time, and a loss of driving privileges. If the judge decides to give you probation rather than a jail sentence, you must be required to report to a probation officer once a month for a year and pay $55 per month for the costs of probation. Completion of DUI school and an evaluation for substance abuse is also mandatory. Normally your car insurance rates will increase substantially if you are convicted of DUI. Once the conviction is entered by the court, it is very difficult to successfully challenge that conviction after the fact.
A second conviction for DUI can carry with it a mandatory term of imprisonment for not less than 10 days. Subsequent DUI convictions carry even more severe penalties, including long-term jail sentences and mandatory revocation of driving privileges.
The State of Florida must prove a DUI beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. The breathalyzer machine might have been in error and the results could be challenged. The circumstances of the arrest might also be subject to legal attack.
Here is something to consider. If you drink and drive, get the phone number of a good West Palm Beach DUI attorney and keep it in your wallet or pocketbook. The faster you have legal representation after a DUI arrest, the better your chances are for a dismissal and expungement. There is no way to predict the future. But you can prepare for it. If you get charged with a DUI in Palm Beach County, make sure you have the phone number of a good West Palm Beach DUI attorney right there in your back pocket.