Play it safe this Holiday Season, the state of Florida has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense in Florida. Impairment of “normal faculties” or a breath alcohol level of 0.08 or greater establishes the charge. The offense and penalties depend on the number of convictions.
If it is the first conviction, there is a fine of between $500 and $2,000. If the blood alcohol concentration is .15 or above, or there is a minor in the vehicle, the fine is between $1,000 and $2,000. If this is the first conviction, 50 hours of community service is required, or pay an extra fee of $10 per hour of compulsory community service. For first offenses, the combined duration of probation and incarceration will not exceed one year.
Imprisonment is at the discretion of the judge. Sentence terms may be served in a residential alcohol or drug abuse treatment facility, and the time served may be applied toward the term of incarceration. The first conviction can receive up to 180 days jail. If the blood alcohol concentration is .15 or above, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, a maximum of 9 months in jail is possible.
If convicted of a second DUI within five years of the first, the judge will sentence a minimum mandatory 10 days in jail, a five-year license suspension, and a 30-day vehicle impoundment. A judge can sentence up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,000 to $4,000 for a second violation involving a juvenile passenger or a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher. These are just a few of the penalties if convicted of a DUI.
Within ten years after a previous offense, a third violation is a felony punishable by 30 days to five years in prison, a 90-day car impoundment, and a ten-year driver’s license suspension. The fine would be at least $4,000 if the motorist had a minor passenger or a BAC. of 15 percent or above.
All offenders must enroll in a substance addiction course and monthly reporting probation. The judge can also impose sobriety and drug testing requirements. Probation violations and driver’s license revocation can occur if these conditions are not met.
A fourth or subsequent DUI, regardless of when the previous ones occurred, is a felony. DUIs that cause serious bodily injury or death to another person are also classified as felonies. For more information, visit State of Florida DUI Information.
Reinstatement of License after the First DUI in Florida
If seeking to reinstate a license following a first DUI conviction and you have a 180-day to one-year revocation period effective from the date of the conviction, it is possible to apply for a hardship license in the county prior to the expiration of this revocation period. DUI school and treatment may be referred and are mandatory. Following completion, it is possible to apply for a hardship license at the local administrative review office.
If someone waits until the revocation term expires before reinstating their license, they may be required to provide documentation of enrollment in or completion of a DUI school and treatment. If the course is not finished within 90 days of reinstatement, the driver’s license will be suspended until the course is completed. Again, failure to complete treatment may result in a driver’s license being revoked.
When applying for reinstatement of hardship or full license privileges, one must pass an examination and pay an administrative cost, in addition to a reinstatement fee. Anyone convicted of a DUI must provide proof of injury liability insurance on the date of the offense or provide proof of liability coverage and pay a reinstatement fee of $150 to $500 for subsequent violations.
Keep in mind that reinstatement of a license after a second, third, fourth, or subsequent DUI conviction may be treated differently.
Seek Legal Representation When Arrested For A DUI
There may be various reasons to retain the services of an attorney. For example, it is possible one may be wrongly charged or if the charges exceed a DUI as a consequence of an accident or reckless endangerment.
Apart from consulting regarding your alternatives, lawyer services may be needed because there are only ten days from the date of arrest to file for a hardship license and work visa. This is critical to prevent from having a negative impact on a job/income due to having a suspended license. Consequently, one may contest the license suspension at this court hearing. If, however, a court hearing is not requested within ten days of an arrest, the license may be suspended for six to eighteen months.
Criminal law experts can help navigate the law and make the best possible decisions. Having a top-rated DUI lawyer is critical to explore options and organize a strategy. The main goal is always to avoid drinking and driving during this Holiday Season.
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