Driving under the influence (DUI) laws govern the act of operating a vehicle while under the influence of a drug or alcohol. This article will discuss what the DUI laws are in the state of Florida and the penalties that may ensue.
What are the DUI Laws in Florida?
Driving under the influence (DUI) occurs when an unlawful amount of alcohol impairs an individual’s cognitive abilities on the road. An unlawful amount of alcohol is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.08. Florida is known for having the toughest penalties for DUIs.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of convictions regarding DUI’s. The consequences an individual can face in Florida for a DUI largely depends on the number of convictions they have. The more convictions an individual has, the more consequences they will face.
What are the Penalties for a DUI in Florida?
The punishment for a DUI varies depending on a number of factors, including the following:
- The number of offenses the individual has committed;
- The individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level;
- The number of people who were involved and/or injured; and
- The individual’s age.
Examples of penalties for a DUI include fines, probation, community service, and imprisonment.
Fines for DUI
The amount the state will fine an individual varies depending on their BAC level. For a BAC under 0.15, an individual’s first conviction will most likely result in a fine between $500 and $2,000. For a BAC level higher than 0.15, the fine will most likely be between $2,000 and $4,000. This fine amount also applies if the person that was driving under the influence at the time of the stop has a minor in the vehicle.
Probation for DUI
Probation is a period of testing in which an individual is released from detention while under supervision. If an individual breaks probation, there will be consequences. For a first time conviction, an individual would receive no more than a year of probation and incarceration combined for their DUI.
Community Service for DUI
A judge orders community service at their discretion. Individuals who obtain a community service sentence will have to serve a certain amount of hours or be given an additional fine under this punishment. For a first time conviction, an individual will need to complete a required 50 hours of service. In place of the hours of service, a person can request a fine of $10 for each community service hour.
Imprisonment for DUI
The court orders imprisonment at the judge’s discretion. Imprisonment can take many different forms in a DUI case. For example, a court may order an individual to participate in a drug abuse treatment or residential alcoholism program. This program would count towards the term of imprisonment. An individual usually receives no more than six months of imprisonment for a first time conviction if their BAC level is under 0.15. If their BAC is 0.15 or higher, they usually receive no more than nine months of imprisonment. This amount of time also applies if the individual driving under the influence had a minor in the vehicle at the time of the stop.
What is Implied Consent in Florida?
In Florida, implied consent refers to a law that states that anyone driving on the road automatically consents to alcohol or drug testing. There can be serious consequences if a person chooses not to comply with law enforcement during a potential DUI stop. During this stop, a law enforcement officer can request a breath or chemical test to determine if they are driving under the influence.
Consequences for refusals vary based on the number of occurrences:
- First refusal: An individual’s license is suspended for one year.
- Second refusal: An individual’s license is suspended for 18 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: After my first conviction, how long will it take to reinstate my license?
A: If the state revoked your license between 180 days and one year after the conviction date, you can apply for your hardship license, which is specific to the county you live in. This has to be done before the revocation period expiration date.
Q: What are other consequences beyond getting my license revoked? Are there additional fees?
A: Other than getting your license revoked, you may have to complete DUI schooling and treatment programs. To reinstate your license, you may need to provide proof of enrollment and/or completion of schooling or treatment in regards to your DUI. Also, upon completion of schooling, there may be an exam which can cost $115, and a $60 reinstatement fee for your license.
Q: Should I get an attorney if I am arrested for driving under the influence?
A: Driving under the influence is a serious offense. It is a good idea to get an attorney that specializes in DUI/DWI cases. It is especially critical to consult an attorney if you believe that you have been wrongfully convicted, and if reckless endangerment of a minor is involved.
Q: After being arrested for driving under the influence, how long do I have to apply for a hardship license?
A: In order to receive a hardship license, as well as work permit, an individual has up to 10 days from the date of arrest to apply. Consulting an attorney in the early stages of this process will allow you to acquire full breadth of knowledge both of your rights and the next steps.
Q: How long do I have to request a court hearing before experiencing consequences?
A: An individual has up to 10 days after their arrest to request a court hearing before their license can be suspended. The suspension can be for six to 18 months.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one has been involved in a DUI case, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.