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Beware The Negative Impact of Florida DUI Penalties

A DUI Conviction carries some pretty touch penalties.

Judges don’t pull these out of thin air. Rather, lawmakers have put certain minimum penalties on the books.

If the Judge does not give the minimum penalties below, then he or she is violating the law. That’s why looking for alternative resolutions to a DUI conviction is so important.

Overview of DUI Penalties 

Pleading guilty or no contest to a DUI in Florida has mandatory minimum penalties that must be imposed by the court.

Note that these are minimums for a Florida DUI conviction. The court can impose more punishments, including jail, for a DUI.  However, understand that these Florida statutory minimums are required only when convicted of a DUI.

Pleading guilty or no contest to aDUI in Florida has mandatory minimum penalties that must be imposed by the court.

If your attorney negotiates a reduction of the charge from a DUI to reckless driving, then the minimum mandatory penalties do not apply. If the DUI attorney negotiates a dismissal of the case, then the penalties do not apply. Furthermore, should your attorney win the case at trial, then the penalties do not apply.

Below we have listed the possible penalties associated with a DUI conviction in the state of Florida.

Possible Jail Time

A standard first time DUI conviction can result in up to 180 days in the county jail. If the blood alcohol level was over 0.15, or if a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the incident, then the maximum jail time is increased to 270 days.  If there was damage to another person or their property, the maximum jail time is 365 in the county jail.

For a first time DUI in Florida, the prosecution often times does not seek jail time. However, when there is an accident involved, or some other aggravating conduct by the defendant, the prosecutor may seek a term of incarceration as part of the sentence for the DUI.

A second DUI conviction is punishable by up to a year in jail.  A third DUI conviction within ten years of a previous DUI can be a felony if the prosecutor chooses to pursue the case, and is punishable by up to five years in prison.  A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction is also punishable by up to five years in prison.

For a second time DUI conviction in Florida that is within five years of a previous DUI, there is a minimum of 10 days required in the county jail.

A third time DUI within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction in Florida requires a minimum of 30 days in the county jail.

Fines and Court Costs

The fine for a first time DUI in Florida is between $500 and $1,000. If a 0.15 or higher blood alcohol content is obtained, or there is a minor in the car, then the fine is between $1,000 and $2,000.

A second DUI conviction within 5 years of a prior DUI conviction will result in a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000. If there is a 0.15 or higher BAC or a minor in the car, then the fine is between $2,000 and $3,000.

A third DUI conviction or more will result in a fine between $2,000 and $5,000.

Probation and Cost of Supervision

Cost of supervision while on probation is not cheap…

A DUI conviction will often include a probationary term of up to one year for a misdemeanor and five years for a felony.  Cost of supervision while on probation is not cheap; it usually costs 50-60 dollars a month during the probationary period.

The other penalties of the DUI conviction, like the DUI school and the fines, are considered conditions of the probation. If the conditions are not completed while on probation, the probationer can be violated.  If violated, the probationer could face up to the entire term of incarceration that he was facing before he was put on probation.

For a first time DUI, that means violating probation could result in up to 180 days in the county jail.

Ignition Interlock and Impoundment

The ignition interlock is another costly condition of probation that might accompany a DUI conviction. Specifically, a first time DUI conviction with blood alcohol content of over 0.15 will result in a six month ignition interlock requirement.

A second conviction with a BAC exceeding 0.15 requires 24 months of the ignition interlock device. In Pasco, Pinellas, and Hillsborough counties, the device is roughly $200 to install, and has a monthly service fee of between $50 to $100.

Any second or subsequent DUI conviction will result in impoundment of the vehicle, unless doing so would be a hardship to the family of the driver. There are exceptions that may apply if the vehicle is operated for business purposes.

Drivers License Suspension

Even though the Florida DMV has likely already administratively suspended the license after the arrest, a DUI conviction results in a separate and distinct driver’s license suspension. On a first DUI conviction, the court will order a 6 – 12 month license suspension.

A second within 5 years of a prior DUI conviction will result in a five year suspension.

A third DUI within 10 years of any one prior DUI is also a minimum of a five year driver’s license suspension. A third DUI within ten years of convictions for any two prior DUI’s in Florida is a ten year suspension. The fourth conviction is a lifetime Florida license revocation.

The driver is eligible for a hardship license immediately on a first time DUI if the DUI School is complete.

The driver is eligible for a hardship license immediately on a first time DUI if the DUI School is complete.

On a second DUI within 5 years of a prior conviction the driver is eligible for a hardship license after 12 months.

On a third conviction within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction the driver is eligible for a hardship license within 12 months.

On a third within ten years of two previous prior DUI convictions the driver is eligible for a hardship license after 24 months.

On a fourth DUI conviction, no possibility exists for a hardship license.

DUI School

Every conviction will require DUI school. The first conviction will require the level 1 DUI School.

A second or subsequent DUI conviction requires attending a multiple offender school. Any substance abuse treatment deemed appropriate must be completed as a condition of the probation.

You have to pay for all this.

Community Service

Every conviction requires 50 community service hours. These can sometimes be purchased with an additional fine to the court.

Outside of drug trafficking, no criminal charge packs more pain in the pocketbook than a DUI conviction.

From towing your vehicle after your arrest and the final DUI class you will take to the insurance hikes you will suffer, a DUI conviction can easily cost in excess of $20,000.

Fee Breakdown

Initial Costs

If you are reading this site, you likely have already felt the initial costs of a DUI, including:

  • Towing of Your Vehicle
  • “booking fees” (When the arresting agency keeps the  money in your wallet)
  • Cash bonds
  • Security with the Bondsmen

Costs During Prosecution

Of course, the costs can continue during the prosecution, and will likely include:

  • DUI school
  • Taxi fees and transportation fees if your license is suspended administratively
  • Reinstatement fees at the DMV and the BAR

Fees if convicted

If you are convicted however, the heavy fees will get you. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Substance abuse evaluation and treatment
  • Vehicle impound
  • Buying out of community service hours
  • More reinstatement fees
  • court costs
  • fines
  • ignition interlock installation and maintenance
  • FR-44 Insurance

Avoiding the DUI Costs

Your best chance at avoiding these drunk driving fees and costs is to hire an experienced DUI Attorney.

While there are no guarantees, a lawyer may be able to avoid a conviction, thus avoiding many of the nasty mandatory costs and fees listed above.  In many situations, your attorney can pay for himself many times over.

While no attorney can guarantee a given result, you can increase your probability of avoiding conviction with proper representation.

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