Florida DUI Laws, Penalties and Information
Florida, like many states today, takes DUI charges very seriously. The laws surrounding the charges are only getting more complex by the day. Worried? Sorry to say, you probably should be.
Attorney Michael Kessler can help you craft a better DUI defense now, and it all starts with a free consultation session you can schedule right now.
What’s Considered a DUI?
To be convicted of a DUI, your blood or breath alcohol level (or BAC) has to be at least .08% as measured by a blood, urine, or breath test. If you’re under the age of 21, your BAC only has to be .02% for charges to be filed. Commercial drivers are measured differently, too, as they only have to have a BAC of .04%.
What If I Refuse a Chemical Test?
When you’re arrested for DUI by the police, they will ask you to submit to a chemical test so they can measure your BAC. If you refuse, you face an automatic suspension of your license and a fine thanks to the implied consent law in the state. If you refuse and it’s your first offense, you face a 1-year license suspension. For your second offense or third offense, you may lose your license for up to 18 months.
What Are The DUI Laws in Florida?
Florida DUI laws change a bit depending on a number of factors. They’re based on previous drunk driving convictions, your age, who is in the car with you, and the type of license you have.
If you’ve been previously convicted, you are under the age of 21, you have a minor in the car, or you have a commercial license, you could face more serious penalties. Attorney Kessler can advise you on exactly what you may face, but here’s a general overview of what you may be facing.
- If this is your first offense, you could see a fine of up to $500, a license suspension of up to 1 year, jail time of up to 6 months, and a vehicle immobilization of 10 days.
- If this is your second offense, you face a fine of up to $2,000, a license suspension that may even extend 5 years, up to 9 months of jail time, and a vehicle immobilization of up to 30 days if your previous conviction was within the last 5 years. You may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed for at least a year at your expense.
- If this is your third offense, you face fines of up to $2,500, a license suspension that may exceed 10 years, and jail time of up to 5 years. Your vehicle could be impounded for up to 90 days, and you may have to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for at least 2 years.
- If this is your fourth offense, your fines could be up to $5,000, and you may never get your license back. You could spend 5 years in prison, and your vehicle could be immobilized for up to 90 days.
Drivers under the age of 21 face a Zero Tolerance policy. They can automatically lose their license for 6 months if they have a breath or blood alcohol of .02 or higher.
If you were driving a commercial vehicle at the time of your arrest, you may not be able to drive another commercial vehicle for at least a year, and you may be ineligible for a hardship license.
Is It a Criminal Offense?
If this is your third DUI within 10 years, it is classified as a 3rd degree felony. Additional DUIs, no matter what time period in which they occurred, are also classified as 3rd degree felonies. DUI cases that cause serious bodily injury to others are always felonies.
What is the 10-Day Rule?
One of the most frightening things about Florida DUI law is the 10-day rule. If you refuse a breath, blood or urine test after you’re arrested, or you tried to take one but the officers said you refused, or after you did take one your results were .08% or above, you could be stuck with an automatic license suspension if you don’t request a hearing within ten days or waive your right to a hearing.
What Can I Do?
The single best step you can take is to enlist the help of DUI Attorney Michael Kessler now. He has the knowledge, skills and training to help create a strong defense against the charges you’re facing, giving you a better chance at keeping your license, your life, and your freedom. Schedule a free consultation session now 772-466-4900.
Here are links to specific Florida DUI statutes:
- Sections/0316.193 – DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcoholic Beverages, Chemical Substances or Controlled Substances)
- Sections/0316.1932 – Tests for alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances; implied consent; refusal.
- Sections/0316.1933 – Blood test for impairment or intoxication in cases of death or serious bodily injury; right to use reasonable force.
- Sections/0316.1934 – Presumption of impairment; testing methods.
- Sections/0316.1939 – Refusal to submit to testing; penalties.
More people are wrongly accused of DUI than any other crime on the books in Florida