There’s no such thing as a “simple” DUI in Florida. All of these cases involve complicated police protocols, testing procedures, and legal requirements—and if it’s your first time in this position, you may not realize that a DUI conviction stays on your driving record forever. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your license could be revoked, your car may be impounded, and you could be facing significant jail time.
If you’ve been charged for driving under the influence, you need to speak with Attorney George Reres as soon as possible. The mistakes you make could risk your reputation and your freedom, and you need someone on your side to challenge the government’s case against you. Call us today at 954-523-3811 to tell us more in your confidential consultation.
Potential Penalties for DUI in Florida
Since driving under the influence can cause serious or fatal injuries to drivers, passengers, and victims, the penalties for the crime are extremely severe. The jail sentence and other consequences an offender faces depend on a number of factors, including whether an accident occurred, if someone was hurt, and whether the driver has a previous DUI conviction.
You could face a variety of DUI penalties after a:
- Traffic Stop. Under Florida’s implied consent law, all drivers agree to submit to a test of their breath, blood, or urine once they have been arrested for DUI. You are not required to submit to a roadside breath test before you are arrested, but an officer may request a breath test if there is a reasonable suspicion of DUI. A pre-arrest breath test cannot be used as evidence in court. If you have been lawfully arrested for DUI and are asked to submit to a BAC test, a refusal will result in driver’s license suspension for one year.
- First Offense. The maximum possible jail sentence for a first-time DUI is five years, but this is reserved for offenders who caused an accident involving serious bodily injury. If a driver caused an accident involving property damage or personal injury, the maximum jail sentence is one year. If no accident occurred, but the driver’s BAC was .15% or more, the driver faces up to nine months in jail. At the lowest level, a driver faces up to six months in jail for a first-time DUI. All first-time offenders are placed on probation for at least one year, must perform at least 50 hours of community service, and surrender their driver’s licenses for anywhere between six months and one year. Drivers will also have their cars impounded or immobilized for 10 days and face fines up to $2,000.
- Second Offense. A second conviction can result in up to nine months’ imprisonment, or one year if the offender’s BAC was .15% or higher or there was a minor in the vehicle. If the second offense occurred within five years of a previous conviction, Florida law imposes a mandatory jail sentence of at least 10 days (or the substitution of a residential treatment program) and driver’s license revocation of at least five years. Offenders are also required to install and use ignition interlock devices for at least one year for a BAC below .15%, or at least two years for a BAC of .15% or higher. Finally, drivers face a fine of up to $4,000 and community service at the judge’s discretion after a second DUI conviction.
- Third Offense. A third DUI conviction results in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000 if the offense occurred later than 10 years after a previous conviction. A third offense within 10 years of a previous conviction is considered a third-degree felony and is subject to up to five years in prison with a mandatory jail sentence of at least 30 days. A third-degree felony offense also results in a minimum 10-year license revocation, a minimum of 2 years using an ignition interlock system, and the impoundment or immobilization of the driver’s vehicle for 90 days.
- Fourth (or Further) Offense. If you are convicted of a fourth DUI offense, you may face enhanced penalties as a habitual felony offender, including up to 10 years in jail and the mandatory permanent revocation of your driver’s license. You may be fined anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000, and a judge may order DUI-deterrent conditions such as ignition interlock devices, substance abuse treatment, or psychological evaluations.
- DUI Manslaughter. If you have been charged with a DUI that resulted in death, you may be charged with the second-degree felony of DUI manslaughter. This is punishable by a mandatory minimum of four years’ imprisonment and up to 15 years in prison, as well as the permanent loss of your driver’s license. You may also face up to $10,000 in fines and several years of probation after your release.
How We Can Help After a DUI in Florida
Drivers may give evidence against themselves due to pressure from police, or plead guilty simply because they don’t know their rights. The truth is that arresting police officers often violate a defendant’s rights during a DUI arrest, allowing your defense attorney to suppress any evidence that was illegally obtained.
Once you have retained our law firm, we can:
- Appeal your Administrative Suspension. If you were forced to surrender your driver’s license due to the refusal to submit to BAC testing, we can appeal the decision to get your administrative suspension reversed.
- Challenge the Evidence Against You. Our legal team will carefully scrutinize the information in your case, including results from field sobriety exercises and urine or breath tests. We examine the chain of evidence to identify if mistakes were made by officers, the person administering the breathalyzer, and others during your arrest. Depending on the facts of the case, we will make pre-trial motions to suppress, dismiss, or exclude portions of the case against you. If successful, your case may be resolved without the need for trial.
- Prepare for Trial. Attorney George Reres is a proven trial lawyer who has presented a number of successful defenses in DUI cases. Whether it’s challenging the traffic stop, an officer’s breach of protocol, or questioning the integrity of the evidence, our defense is always crafted with the end goal of reducing the final sentence and mitigating the consequences to your life.
Contact Us Today to Build Your Best Defense
If you or someone you love has been charged with DUI, we can begin building a strong defense in your first phone call. Whether it’s your first or fourth time in court or you refused or submitted to BAC testing, we can help you fight the charges against you. Call us at 954-523-3811 or fill out our contact form to get answers at no cost to you.