DUI Related Crimes, Florida DUI Laws and Penalties
Driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance (316.193, F.S.). A DUI will remain on your driving record for 75 years.
DUI 1st Offense
1st DUI – 180 days to a 1-year revocation effective on conviction date. Or, first offense DUI with Serious Injury – at least a 3-year revocation. Before expiration of the revocation period, you may apply for a hardship license in the county where you live. DUI School completion and treatment, if referred, is required. You then can apply for a hardship license in any Administrative Reviews Office
If you wait to reinstate your license until your revocation period ends, proof of enrollment or completion of DUI School and treatment, if referred, is required. Failure to complete the course within 90 days after reinstatement will result in cancellation of your driver license by the department until the course is completed. Failure to complete treatment may result in cancellation of your driver license.
Second offense not within 5 years from prior conviction will result in a 180-day to 1-year revocation. You cannot reinstate early for hardship. The full revocation period must be served before requesting driver license reinstatement.
The second offense within 5 years from prior conviction will result in at least a 5 year revocation. You may apply for a hardship license at the Administrative Reviews Office after serving one year from effective date of revocation. DUI School, and treatment, if referred, must be completed and you must have a favorable recommendation from the Special Supervision Services Program to be eligible for a hardship license. If given approval to reinstate early for hardship, you must present this approval to the driver license office. You must remain in the Special Supervision Services Program for the duration of the revocation period to retain your hardship license.
If you wait to reinstate until after your revocation period ends, proof of enrollment or completion of DUI School, and treatment, if referred, is required. Failure to complete the course within 90 days after reinstatement will result in cancellation of your driver license by the department until the course is completed. Failure to complete treatment may result in cancellation of your driver license. Source
Florida DUI Laws
Florida Hardship License
If your Florida drivers license has been suspended for too many points, Florida law allows you to drive to and from work after youve applied for a hardship license. Here’s how it works.
- If you receive two speeding tickets and one moving violation such as rolling through at Stop sign and your drivers license gets 12 points in 12 months, your Florida license will be suspended for 30 days if you have not taken traffic school to avoid the points.
- If you receive 18 points in 18 months your Florida drivers license is suspended for three (3) months. And if you reach 24 points in 36 months, you’ll lose your license for 12 months.
Applying for a Hardship License
There are two different types of Florida hardship licenses you can apply for at your local drivers license office:
1. Business Purposes Only is stated as “A driving privilege restricted to business purposes only means a driving privilege that is limited to any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, including driving to and from work, necessary on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes, and driving for church and for medical purposes.”
2. Work Purposes Only states “A driving privilege restricted to employment purposes only means a driving privilege that is limited to driving to and from work and any necessary on-the-job driving required by an employer or occupation.”
Florida law mandates that any driver convicted of a second DUI have an Ingnition Interlock device installed in their vehicle. A judge may order an Interlock installed on first convictions depending on circumstances. Read the details of the Florida Ignition Interlock program.
No one can drink alcohol and still drive safely. Drinking and driving causes accidents and deaths every day and therefore the penalties in Florida are very tough. If you drink and drive the result may be jail time, loss of your Florida drivers license, heavy fines, and much higher auto insurance rates. And a conviction will stay on your Florida driving record for 75 years.
Zero Tolerance for Drivers under 21
Florida has a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that any driver under 21 that is stopped by law enforcement and has a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have their Florida drivers license suspended for 6 months. The .02 limit really means that you cannot have a single drink and drive. And that’s the idea.
For drivers over 21 the legal limit in Florida is .08. Regardless of your age be aware that drinking and driving is considered a serious offense. Below we have summarized the penalties in the state of Florida for a first offense DUI, but the average cost including legal defense, fines, and auto insurance increases is $8000.
Florida Penalties for DUI First Conviction
- Fine – $250 to $500
- Community Service – 50 Hours
- Probation – Not more than 1 Year
- Imprisonment – Not more than 6 Months
- Imprisonment with BAL of .08 or higher with a minor in the vehicle, not more than 9 months
- License Revocation – Minimum of 180 days
- DUI School – 12 Hours
West Palm Beach DUI/DWI Attorney
It is not illegal to drink and drive in Florida, so long as your blood alcohol content (BAC) is not over .08 or your normal faculties are not impaired. At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we advise our clients to neither blow into a breathalyzer machine nor do a roadside test. Why give evidence to the state if you don’t have to?
If you have submitted to a breathalyzer test and failed, that is not the end of your case. The Intoxilzer 5,000 and Intoxilzer 8,000 breathalyzer machines used to measure BAC in Florida have significant problems. If you have an expert witness and an experienced attorney who can challenge the accuracy of the machine in court, the BAC evidence may be thrown out. DUI/DWI Lawyer Andrew Stine has obtained not-guilty verdicts due to machine failure for clients who have had blood alcohol levels of .229 and .227.
The most important thing in DUI/DWI cases is early intervention by your attorney. This preliminary involvement will help you avoid the consequences of a conviction, which are very serious in Florida. We will also represent you at your hearing before the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles in order to protect your right to drive.
In addition to DUI/DWI charges, we represent clients in DUI accident cases, including
- Leaving the scene of accident with severe bodily injury
- DUI/DWI severe bodily injury
- DUI/DWI homicide
- DUI/DWI manslaughter
There are defenses in DUI accident cases, which an experienced and capable lawyer can use. Even if you made a statement to police during your arrest, our lawyers can usually get that evidence thrown out of court. Any statement you give officers cannot be used against you due to the Florida accident report privilege.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170. Se habla español.
Protecting your right to drive
Unless your request a DMV hearing within 10 days of arrest, you will lose your driver’s license. Even if your license is revoked, we can apply for a hardship license, which is usually immediately granted to you. We have never had a hardship license denied to one of our clients.