What Are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI in Florida?
The story usually begins with, “Believe me, I’m totally fine. I only drank a few beers.” However, from a Florida law perspective, it is not fine to drive!
The penalties for drunk driving in Florida are very severe. A DUI conviction in Florida could turn your life upside-down and follow you for the rest of your life.
If you are convicted of drunk driving in Florida, you may serve time in prison, pay heavy fines, lose your driver’s license, and pay much higher car insurance premiums.
An experienced Florida DUI attorney is necessary in both criminal and driver’s license DUI cases. A lawyer has the knowledge, skills, and experience to draft a strong DUI defense and may be able to have your accusation completely dismissed.
Here we explain the DUI Laws in Florida and how a local DUI attorney may be able to help you. Keep reading to learn more.
Fines, Fees, and Jail Time After a First DUI Offense in Florida
According to Fla. Statute § 316.193(2)(a), the court can fine the drunk drivers from $500 up to $1,000 and sentence them to up to six months in jail. If the driver tests 0.15 BAC or higher, or if a minor under 18 is in the vehicle, the maximum fine increases from $1,000 to $2,000, and the maximum jail sentence raises to nine months.
Probation After a DUI Conviction
According to Fla. Stat. § 316.193(5) and McGhee v. State, 847 So. 2d 498, 501, the court must put all DUI offenders on monthly probation reporting. The probationary period should not exceed one year on the first conviction of a misdemeanor DUI. The law also sets a limit of one year for the total imprisonment time.
In addition, the conviction of drunk driving remains in Florida records for 75 years, and offenders can never expunge these charges.
Treatment and Education Requirements
In addition, the court must set mandatory conditions for all DUI violations, according to the law. The requirements are as follows:
- “Completion of a substance abuse course conducted by a DUI program licensed by the department under § Fla. Stat. 322,292, which must include a psychological evaluation of the defendant.”
- “The completion of all required…education, evaluation, and treatment” following a referral for treatment;
- Accepting “reasonable costs for such education, evaluation, and treatment.”
Furthermore, for the first DUI offense, the court must make it a condition of probation that the offender performs 50 hours of community work or public service hours.
What Happens if You Don’t Complete Court Ordered DUI Classes in Florida?
If you do not complete the treatment of the required DUI program, the program will notify the court and department of motor vehicles. The department of motor vehicles then suspends the offender’s driver’s license.
The court is obliged to impound or immobilize any car that the offender operates or has registered in their name at the time of sentencing. In addition, the court seizes the vehicle for up to 10 days on the first conviction of drunk driving.
Additionally, the court may require an ignition lock device to be attached to the vehicle for up to 6 months. This device tests the alcohol content of the driver’s breath to start the car.
Skipping DUI program classes ordered by the court is a critical offense and is considered a probation violation. Therefore, the court may issue an arrest warrant for the offender. Once arrested, the court could sentence the defendant to the maximum penalty for their DUI crime, including imprisonment.
Driver’s License Penalties
For the first conviction of drunk driving with no deaths involved, the court may suspend the offender’s driver’s license for six months up to one year.
A first-time offender is not allowed to be relicensed in Florida until they complete the required DUI classes.
If the defendant or their lawyer does not file a request for a Formal Administrative Hearing, the defendant’s driving rights will be automatically suspended within ten days of their arrest.
Florida courts have consistently ruled that suspension of a driver’s license is not punitive but a positive action to protect the public.
In general, they want to improve public welfare by removing dangerous drivers from the road. Individually, they protect drunk drivers from themselves. Therefore, Florida does not consider suspension of driving privileges as a “punishment” for drunk driving.
Florida Implied Consent
Every Florida driver has given implied consent to have a breath, urine, or blood test if they are suspected of drunk driving. If a driver refuses to take these tests, they may have their license suspended for up to 12 months on the first violation.
DUI Causing Great Bodily Injury
If a drunk driver causes serious physical injury or death in Florida, even first-time convictions have serious consequences.
If someone sustains a severe injury from a DUI accident, the drunk driver may be convicted of a third-degree felony. Florida law allows a sentence of up to five years in prison for third-degree felonies. Florida § 775.083(1)(c) adds that they may also impose a fine of up to $ 5,000.
DUI Causing Death in Florida
If someone dies due to drunk driving (including unborn children), the driver could be charged with DUI manslaughter. Under Florida law, this crime is a second-degree felony.
A second-degree felony conviction in Florida can result in imprisonment of up to 15 years and fines of up to $ 10,000.
If the intoxicated driver knows that an accident has occurred and someone dies, they must render aid or exchange information with the other driver involved in the DUI accident. If they do not, the court may convict them of a first-degree felony.
First-degree felonies in Florida can result in fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 30 years.
If you’ve been charged with any DUI offense, you need a solid defense now. And you need a good lawyer.
Trust and rely on the experience and skill of our knowledgeable DUI attorney at Olivero Law, P.A. Our legal team in Florida will fight to get you the best result in your case and help you in every step of your DUI defense.
The Cost of Your First DUI Conviction in Florida
Under Florida law, drunk driving is usually determined by blood or breathing alcohol levels or evidence of disability. Your blood alcohol content, or BAC, defines the limits on alcohol levels for driving in Florida. If your BAC is 0.08 or higher, Florida considers you to be legally drunk. This BAC limit currently applies to all 50 states.
Your first DUI could end up costing you up to $20,000! The following is a review of the expenses associated with a Florida DUI:
Court Costs and Fines
As we discussed above, first-time drunk driving fines and legal costs range from $500 – $2,000. However, if a minor is in the car or the driver has a blood alcohol content above 0.15, the charges range between $2,000 – $4,000. These fines can exceed $5,000 if you seriously injure someone else.
DMV and License Reinstatement Fees
If your driver’s license has been revoked for more than 180 days, you will have to pay the DMV fee when you reinstate your license.
To get a hardship license, you’ll have to pay $115 for an exam and administration fees. There is also an extra $60 license reinstatement fee.
DUI School and Evaluation Expenses
Florida law requires DUI offenders to take DUI education classes. The law requires a minimum of 12 hours of drug and alcohol training within 90 days. The costs for these classes are different from county to county. The Florida Safety Council offers these classes to first offenders for $275.
After completion of DUI classes, the state must evaluate the offender. Evaluation after substance abuse programs usually costs roughly $150.
Florida courts must assign probation to DUI offenders, including those who commit these crimes for the first time. The probation period usually does not exceed one year. In Florida, drunk driving offenders must pay $50 per month during probation, and some may incur additional legal charges. In some cases, you will also have to pay a $1 monthly surcharge within the first 90 days after the start of probation.
You need an appropriate insurance policy to reinstate your driver’s license. In Florida, it is required to have at least $ 100,000 bodily injury liability insurance per person. In addition, the law requires the following provisions for DUI offenders:
- Reinstatement fee from $150 to $500 for subsequent crimes
- $300,000 per incident and $50,000 for property damage liability on the arrest date, or proof of liability coverage
What to Do Now: Contact a Florida DUI Attorney
It is best to hire a Florida DUI attorney to help you with your first-time DUI offense. They will create a defense to dismiss your case or, at the very least, negotiate for your best sentencing options.
At Olivero Law, P.A., we will:
- Talk with you to learn more about your DUI case and your legal needs
- Speak with any witnesses to the arrest or DUI accident
- Thoroughly examine and investigate the prosecution’s DUI case against you
- Prepare a strong defense
- Present motions to be heard by the judge in your case
- Represent you in court if needed
We have many years of experience defending people accused of drunk driving in Florida. We work with you to understand every detail of your case, from the arrest to the trial.
Our DUI defense lawyer takes the time to explain the law, outlines the criminal legal process, and helps you understand your options. We’re here for you, so you don’t have to fight alone. Schedule a consultation with an Olivero Law, P.A. criminal defense lawyer in Florida. We have experience successfully defending people charged with first-time DUI and DWI offenses. Give us a call at 1-813-534-0393, or fill out our quick online contact form to speak with an attorney today.