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Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

DUI

Florida DUI LawsDUI PENALTIES

Under Florida DUI law chapter 316.193,F.S. a person is considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance by either registering a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater or by proof of impairment of their normal faculties as observed by the arresting officer.

The arresting officer can prove probable cause of impairment by either his or her observation of the suspect's driving behavior before being stopped, the suspect's mannerisms during the stop and by the suspect failing any part of the field sobriety tests, if the suspect submitted to them.

These things could greatly affect the requirement of probable cause in your DUI case:
Your physical or medical condition at the time of the stop and testing.

  • Whether or not the police read you your rights when they were supposed to read them to you.
  • Whether the roadside Field Sobriety Exercises were done correctly, including whether they were done on a smooth, flat, level surface, without glare from traffic lights, flashing police lights or fear of being hit by vehicles going by the roadside.
  • Whether you were wearing contacts or prescription lenses.
  • Whether you were on private property.
  • Did the police officer confuse fear or exhaustion with being drunk?
  • Was there a video of the stop and Field Sobriety Exercises and how well did on them.
  • Have you been in any recent accidents or ever suffered head trauma of any kind?
  • Were you on any prescription or over the counter medication.
  • Were you affected by any illness or other medical condition, including back, neck, knee, muscle or other medical conditions?
  • Do you have witnesses who would testify truthfully about whether you consumed any alcohol, the amount or how your were driving?
  • Did you have dentures or any other dental condition when you were asked to take a breath test?
  • Were you offered a blood test?
  • Were you threatened in order to get you to perform any tests or Field Sobriety Exercises?

Florida First Offense DUI Penalties

The Florida legislature has imposed certain minimum mandatory penalties for DUI convictions. The can be found in Florida Statute 316.193.   A first offense DUI charge in Florida means that your blood alcohol concentration was .08% or greater and you have had no prior DUI convictions. A first offense DUI charge is considered a misdemeanor charge and carries the following penalties:

Jail time: The jail time for a first offense with a blood alcohol concentration below .14% can be up to 6 months. At the court's discretion they may grant a probationary period of 1-year in lieu of jail time along with a minimum of 50 hours of community service. If the court grants community service, you will also have to pay an additional fine of $10 per hour for every hour of community service worked.

If your blood alcohol level was .15% or greater or there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, the court may impose a jail sentence of up to 9 months.

Fines: The minimum fine for a first offense is $500 and can go up to $1,000 as long as your blood alcohol level was .14% or less. If your blood alcohol level was .15% or greater or there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, the minimum fine will be $1,000 and can go as high as $2,000 at the court's discretion.

License Revocation: The minimum revocation period for a first conviction is 180 days and the maximum revocation is 1-year. If you refused or failed to complete a chemical test, your license will be revoked for 1-year.

DUI School: A first time offender must enroll in DUI school and complete the schooling before a hardship license will be issued. If you decide to enroll in DUI school after your revocation period, you will have to show proof of enrollment in DUI school to the DMV before they will reinstate your license.

You must also complete the DUI school within 90 days of your reinstatement following your revocation period otherwise the DMV will cancel your license and you will not be able to attain another license until you complete the DUI schooling.

Vehicle Impoundment: As a condition of granting probation, the court will impound your vehicle for a period of 10 days. The impoundment period will start at the end of a jail sentence. So if you serve 30 days in jail, the 10 day impoundment period will start on the 31st day when you are released from jail.

You will be responsible for all fees associated with the impoundment. If your family depends on your vehicle for transportation or if the vehicle in question is used by employees in a business you own, the court may dismiss the impoundment period.

Florida Second Offense DUI Penalties

A second offense DUI charge in Florida means that your blood alcohol concentration was .08% or greater and you have been convicted of one prior DUI offense within the past 5-years. A second offense charge is considered a misdemeanor charge and carries the following penalties:

Jail time: The mandatory minimum jail sentence for a second offense charge within 5-years is 10 days with a minimum of two of those days served consecutively and the maximum jail sentence as long as your blood alcohol level was below .14% is 9 months. If you blood alcohol level was .15% or greater or there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, the maximum jail sentence can be up to 1-year.

Fines: The minimum fine for a second offense is $1,000 and can go up to $2,000 as long as your blood alcohol level was .14% or less. If your blood alcohol level was .15% or greater or there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, the minimum fine will be $2,000 and can go as high as $4,000 at the court's discretion.

License Revocation: The minimum revocation period for a second conviction within 5-years of a previous conviction will be 5-years and you may be eligible for a hardship license after 1-year of the revocation period. A second conviction beyond the 5-year period will result in a maximum revocation of 1-year. If you refused or failed to complete the chemical test your license will be revoked for 18-months.

DUI School: If you are convicted of a second offense within 5-years of a previous conviction, you will need to enroll in and successfully complete DUI school before your license will be reinstated.

Vehicle Impoundment: As a condition of granting probation, the court will impound your vehicle for a period of 30 days for a second offense that occurs within 5-years of a first offense conviction. You will be responsible for all fees associated with the impoundment. The impoundment period will start at the end of the jail sentence. If your family depends on your vehicle for transportation or if the vehicle in question is used by employees in a business you own, the court may dismiss the impoundment period.

Florida Third Offense DUI Penalties

A third offense DUI charge in Florida means that your blood alcohol concentration was .08% or greater and you have been convicted of two prior DUI offenses and at least one of those convictions was within the last 10-years. A third offense charge can be elevated to a felony charge if an accident occurred involving serious bodily injuries to another person. Otherwise a third offense charge is considered a misdemeanor charge and carries the following penalties:

Jail time: The mandatory jail sentence for a third offense conviction occurring within 10-years of a previous conviction will be no less than 30 days in jail. A third conviction occurring more than 10-years since a previous conviction will result in a maximum jail sentence of 12-months. The length of the jail sentence will be at the court's discretion and will be based upon the circumstances surrounding your case and the previous convictions.

Fines: The minimum fine for a third offense DUI conviction occurring more than 10-years since a previous conviction will be $2,000 and can go as high as $5,000 at the court's discretion. If your blood alcohol level was .15% or greater or a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, the minimum fine will be $4,000. The fine amount will be based upon the circumstances surrounding the offense, plus your previous offenses.

License Revocation: The revocation period for a third conviction within 10-years of a previous conviction, will be a minimum 10-year revocation period and you may be eligible for a hardship license after 2-years of the revocation period. A third conviction beyond the 10-year period with no more than one previous conviction within the past 5-years will result in a maximum revocation of 5-years. If you refused or failed to complete the chemical test your license will be revoked for 10-years.

DUI School: If you are convicted of a third offense within 10-years of a previous conviction, you will need to enroll in and successfully complete DUI school before your license will be reinstated.

Vehicle Impoundment: As a condition of granting probation, the court will impound your vehicle for a period of 90 days for a third offense that occurs within 10-years of a second offense conviction. You will be responsible for all fees associated with the impoundment. The impoundment period will start at the end of the jail sentence.

If your family depends on your vehicle for transportation or if the vehicle in question is used by employees in a business you own, the court may dismiss the impoundment period.

Florida Fourth or Subsequent Offense DUI Penalties

A fourth or subsequent offense DUI charge in Florida means that your blood alcohol concentration was .08% or greater and you have been convicted of three prior DUI offenses and at least one of those convictions was within the last 10-years. A fourth or subsequent offense charge can be elevated to a felony charge if an accident occurred involving serious bodily injuries to another person. Otherwise a fourth offense charge is considered a misdemeanor charge and carries the following penalties:

Jail time: The maximum imprisonment term for a fourth or subsequent offense is 5-years. The length of imprisonment will be at the court's discretion and will be based upon the circumstances surrounding your case and the previous convictions.

Fines: The minimum fine amount for a fourth or subsequent offense will be $2,000 or up to $5,000 if the fourth or subsequent offense is a felony conviction. The fine amount will be based upon the circumstances surrounding the offense, plus your previous offenses.

License Revocation: A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction will result in a permanent license revocation with no chance of reinstatement and no chance of a hardship license.

Vehicle Impoundment: As a condition of granting probation, the court will impound your vehicle for a period of 90 days for a fourth or subsequent offense that occurs within 10-years of a third offense conviction. You will be responsible for all fees associated with the impoundment. The impoundment period will start at the end of the imprisonment term.

If your family depends on your vehicle for transportation or if the vehicle in question is used by employees in a business you own, the court may dismiss the impoundment period.

DUI PENALTIES

Florida Administrative Hearing Process (HARDSHIP LICENSES)

Effective on July 1, 2013, the rules regulating the administrative suspension of a driver's license after a DUI arrest, and the right to review that administrative suspension, change.

Changes to Florida's DUI Administrative Hearings

If you have no prior DUI convictions or administrative suspensions or convictions for an alcohol/drug-related offense, there are three options:

  • request an informal review hearing;
  • request a formal review hearing; or
  • request a hearing for a “Business Purpose Only” restricted driving privilege. That request waives the right to a formal or informal review hearing.

DHSMV is taking the position that the date of the DUI arrest controls. So, for example, if the arrest and notice of suspension are dated before July 1, 2013 there is no option to avoid the “hard time” suspension by immediately requesting a “review of eligibility.” However, if the DUI arrest date and/or notice of suspension are dated July 1, 2013, or later, then the new regulations apply.

The New Formal Review Hearing Process

Florida Statute Section 322.2615 (amended)

Florida Statute Section 322.2615, “Suspension of license; right to review” will provide:

“[t]he driver may request a formal or informal review of the suspension by the department within 10 days after the date of issuance of the notice of suspension or may request a review of eligibility for a restricted driving privilege under s. 322.271(7).“

Florida Statute Section 322.271(7) (amended)

Effective July 1, 2013, Florida Statute Section 322.271(7) will provide:

Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 322.2615(10)(a) and (b), a person who has never previously had a driver license suspended under s. 322.2615 [an administrative suspension], has never been disqualified under section s. 322.64 [related to operating a commercial vehicle while under the influence], has never been convicted of a violation of s. 316.193 [DUI], and whose driving privilege is now suspended under section s. 322.2615 is eligible for a restricted driving privilege pursuant to a hearing under section (2).

(a) For purposes of this subsection, a previous conviction outside of this state for driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level, or any other alcohol-related or drug-related traffic offense similar to the offense of driving under the influence as provided in s. 316.193 will be considered a previous conviction for a violation of s. 316.193, and a conviction for violation of former s. 316.028, former s. 316.1931, or former s. 860.01 is considered a conviction for a violation of s. 316.193.

(b) The reinstatement shall be restricted to business purposes only, as defined in this section, for the duration of the suspension imposed under s. 322.2615.(c) Acceptance of the reinstated driving privilege as provided in this subsection is deemed a waiver of the right to formal and informal review under s. 322.2615. The waiver may not be used as evidence in any other proceeding.

Obtaining a Florida Hardship License

If the hearing officer does not rule in your favor and reinstate your license, you may be eligible for a hardship license if you meet the following requirements:

1.You have never been convicted of more than two DUI offenses.

2.You enrolled in DUI school and must successfully complete the schooling within 90 days of a hardship license issuance.

3.If your BAC level was .08% or greater, you have served your first 30 days of your suspension period or if you refused the chemical test, you have served the first 90 days of your suspension period.

If you meet the above requirements, you can request a Hardship Review Hearing at the end of your hardship suspension period to request a hardship license. If the hearing officer determines that you are eligible for a hardship license he will give you the paperwork that you will submit at the DMV office to obtain your hardship license. You will also be required to file an SR22 form with the DMV in order for them to issue you a hardship license.