Overview And Basic Information For DUI Penalties In Florida

By Rebecca Hamilton, Esq.

A DUI conviction is very serious in the State of Florida. Not only will you face legal or Criminal problems but it can be a very expensive experience to go through. Listed below is a brief overview of “some” of the criminal penalties that you will incur. In this article we will only scratch the surface and touch on a few issues regarding basic DUI penalties in Florida. For more serious DUI offenses or repeat offenders the criminal and financial aspects can be astronomical. You should check the complete statutes or consult a licensed Attorney for more information on specific cases.

DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcoholic Beverages, Chemical Substances or Controlled Substances). s. 316.193, F.S.

Under Florida law, DUI is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven.

Fine Schedule s. 316.193(2)(a)-(b), F.S.

First Conviction: Not less than $500, or more than $1,000. With Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.

Second Conviction: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $2,000, or more than $4,000.

Third Conviction More than 10 years from second: Not less than $2,000, or more than $5,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $4,000.

Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not less than $2,000.

Community Service – s. 316.193 (6)(a), F.S.

First Conviction: Mandatory 50 hours of community service or additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.

Probation – s. 316.193 (5)(6), F.S.

First conviction, total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year.

Imprisonment- s. 316.193 (2)(a) 2, 4(b), (6)(j), F.S.

At court’s discretion, sentencing terms may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program, credited toward term of imprisonment.

First Conviction: Not more than 6 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 9 months.

Second Conviction: Not more than 9 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 12 months. If second conviction within 5 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.

Third Conviction: If third conviction within 10 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive. If third conviction more than 10 years, imprisonment for not more than 12 months.

Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not more than 5 years or as provided in s.775.084, Florida Statutes, as habitual/violent offender.

Impoundment of Immobilization of Vehicle – s. 316.193 (6), F.S.

Unless the family of the defendant has no other transportation: First conviction = 10 days; second conviction within 5 years = 30 days; third conviction within 10 years = 90 days. Impoundment or immobilization must not occur concurrently with incarceration. The court may dismiss the order of impoundment of any vehicles that are owned by the defendant if they are operated solely by the employees of the defendant or any business owned by the defendant.

In addition to the penalties listed above you will be arrested on the spot and the conditions for release are listed below.

Conditions for Release of Persons Arrested for DUI-s. 316.193 (9), F.S.

The person is no longer under the influence and;

The person’s normal faculties are no longer impaired

The person’s blood/breath alcohol level is lower than 0.05; or

Eight hours have elapsed from the time the person was arrested.

Keep in mind that this article just touches on the basic penalties associated with a DUI offense. There are many more consequences associated with a conviction. Greater penalties can occur if there is bodily injury or property damage involved.

What to do if you are arrested for a DUI

As a general rule any time you are arrested it is a good idea to invoke your right to remain silent and call a Lawyer as soon as they will allow you to. You should be cooperative and polite but take advantage of your right to remain silent. You are not going to talk your way out of anything.

It is in your best interest to call an attorney immediately and let them communicate for you. A good DUI defense attorney will be able to explain and guide you through the entire process. The sooner you call the better off you will be. This will give the attorney a better chance and more time to find ways to help you. Since your license will be in jeopardy you will want your lawyer to get to work right away to help you keep your driving privileges.

In many cases a good attorney may be able to have the charges reduced or maybe even dismissed depending on your specific circumstances.