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What Happens When You Get a DUI in Florida?

Mar 02, 2022

What Happens When You Get a DUI in Florida?

Getting a DUI in Florida is taken very seriously by law enforcement. Here is what to expect if you are charged with a DUI in the Sunshine State.

Did you get a DUI in Florida? Well, you're not alone. Every year, 151 people per 100,000 are arrested for DUI-related offenses in the state. The sad part is that that's on the lower end for the country.

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the damage after you're caught driving under the influence. Let's talk about Florida's DUI laws, the process, the penalties, and what you can do to make the best of a bad situation.

What Happens After You Get A DUI In Florida?

Driving under the influence is a serious charge in Florida, and it can come with some very serious consequences. There's a process that will be followed, both in court and at the DMV, and the punishments can vary widely depending on circumstances.

DUI Process

The start of the DUI process is simple. You either get pulled over or police show up to a resulting crash.

If they have reason to suspect you are driving under the influence, they will give you a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer. Or both. If the results show you to be intoxicated, you will be questioned, handcuffed, and booked.

You will be kept in the "drunk tank" (along with other people who were arrested that night) for a few hours until you're able to be present before a judge, who will set your bail and your court date.

Once released on bail or otherwise (this should be between $200 and $500), you'll be given a court date and information from the DMV. Your license will likely be automatically suspended for the time being, although this can take up to 10 days to take effect, and it will remain suspended until you reach your court date.

DUI Punishment

The punishments will vary for each specific case, based on whether or not you are a repeat offender, your driving record, your blood-alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the arrest, and any additional charges accrued in your case. Here's what to expect for each offense.

First Offense

For the first offense in Florida, you're looking at a minimum license suspension of 6 months and a maximum of 1 year. If you drive for a living or need to commute to work, this might be punishment enough, but it doesn't stop there. You will also face a fine of $500 to $1,000, and it will increase to $1,000 to $2,000 if BAC is above 0.15 or if there is a minor in the vehicle.

If the DUI results in a car crash, you could face up to 12 months in prison.

You will also be required to complete 50 hours of community service and attend a 21-hour DUI school. That will apply to every offense.

Second Offense

If your second offense happens within 5 years of your first, you will receive a minimum license suspension of 5 years. If it occurs after the 5-year period, the suspension will be for a minimum of 6 months.

There is no minimum jail sentence for a second offense, but you could face up to 9 months if your first offense happened within the last 5 years. You will also be required to pay a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000, going up to $2,000 to $4,000 for a BAC higher than 0.15 or a minor being present in the vehicle.

Third Offense

Your third offense will be a minimum suspension of 10 years, but you may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after two years. You will pay a fine of anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000, going up to $4,000 to $5,000 for a BAC higher than 0.15 or a minor being present in the vehicle.

For a third offense, there is a minimum jail time of 30 days in jail. However, if the arrest is more than 10 years after your first two convictions, there will be no minimum jail time, but with a maximum of 12 months.

Fourth Offense

Your fourth DUI will result in a permanent revocation of your license, and no matter how long the previous offenses were, this will be a felony offense. You will be sentenced to jail for a maximum of 5 years and have a felony record.

For all offenses, if they result in a crash, especially with an injury involved, the jail sentences will be increased dramatically. If a crash results in death, this will be charged as vehicular homicide with a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

How Long Does It Stay On Your Record

One of the most devastating parts of a DUI is the resulting criminal record. It can put a heavy burden on future job prospects, hinder your ability to get loans and make future punishments more severe. The worst part is that a DUI stays on your record in Florida for up to 75 years.

Luckily for you, you can fight to get it removed.

The Importance Of DUI Defense

From everything you've read here, and likely heard before, you can tell that these charges can have long-lasting effects on your life. It is absolutely critical that you get the right DUI defense to help ease the penalties or even have your record expunged.

Luckily, our experienced attorneys and services can get you the help that you need, whether it's in court, at the DMV, or save your license from suspension. Florida DUI laws are very strict, and you need all the help you can get.

Get The Help You Need Today

If you received a DUI in Florida, the time to get legal representation is now. The longer you wait, the longer it sits on your record, and the more damage it can cause.

Also, for your own protection, take a minute to check out some of our frequently asked questions to prepare for what's to come.

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