What Happens if I get a DUI in Florida?
The most important thing in DUI/DWI cases is early intervention by your criminal defense attorney. This proactive involvement will help you avoid the consequences of a conviction, which are very serious in Florida.
According to The Florida Statutes regarding Driving Under the Influence:
A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and will be punished if the person driving is in actual physical control of a vehicle under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical substance that impairs a person’s normal functions.
Any person who is convicted of a violation of operating a vehicle while under the influence of any substance will be punished by:
- A fine of $500 to $1,000 for a first conviction
- A fine of $1,000 to $2,000 or more for a second conviction
- Imprisonment for 6 months or less for a first conviction
- Imprisonment for 9 months or less for a second conviction
More than one conviction
For a second conviction, the convicted person qualifies for a permanent or restricted license for at least 1 year. This can include an ignition interlock devices at the convicted person’s expense.
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, a criminal defense lawyer can apply for a hardship license, which is usually immediately granted to you.
A third conviction within 10 years after a prior conviction is considered to be a 3rd degree felony. The punishment for a 3rd conviction includes:
- Imprisonment for 5 years to life
- A fine of $2,000 to $5,000
- Permanent or restricted license for at least 2 years
Obviously, these conditions change if you also:
- Damage the property or person of another
- Cause serious bodily injury to another
- Cause the death of any human being or unborn child (mandatory imprisonment for 4 years)
- Have a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher
- Were accompanied by a person under the age of 18 years
If you have submitted to a breathalyzer test and failed, that is not the end of your case. The Intoxilzer 5000 and Intoxilzer 8000 breathalyzer machines used to measure BAC in Florida have significant problems. If you have an expert witness and an experienced criminal defense attorney who can challenge the accuracy of the machine in court, the BAC evidence may be thrown out. Criminal defense lawyers have obtained not-guilty verdicts due to machine failure for clients who have had blood alcohol levels of .229 and .227.