Florida DUI 101

If you’re convicted of a Florida DUI, be aware that you could be in for some stiff penalties.

The Basics

In Florida, you’re considered intoxicated if you have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent. That tends to be the norm in the United States. A commercial driver can be no higher than .02 percent.

The Penalties

Florida has some stiff penalties for drinking and driving. A first conviction with a BAC of .08 to .15 percent could bring a maximum of six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. A BAC of above .15 percent could cost you up to $2,000 and a maximum of nine months in jail. You could also have your license suspended for up to a year and up be required to perform 50 hours of community service, which comes with a fine of $10 per hour, as well. You could also have your vehicle impounded for ten days, and an ignition interlock system installed for six months. An alcohol treatment program could be an option in lieu of a prison sentence.

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI for the second time, you’re looking at a maximum of nine months in jail and $2,000 in fines if your BAC was less than .15 percent. If your BAC was higher than .15 on your second offense, you could be facing up to a year in prison and $4,000 in fines. An ignition interlock device could be installed on your vehicle for up to two years and you could have your vehicle impounded for 30 days. If you’ve been convicted of a second DUI within five years of the previous offence, you could also be looking at a mandatory ten-day prison sentence and a license suspension of five years.

In Florida, if you’ve been convicted of a third DUI in ten years, you’ll be charged with a third-degree felony. That comes with a jail sentence of up to one year and up to $5,000 in fines.  Your license could be suspended for ten years and your vehicle could be impounded for 90 days. An ignition interlock device will also be required for two years on your vehicle.

New Florida Law

In 2010, Florida introduced new reduced penalties for four-time DUI offenders. Those include ten years without driving, as long as there were no manslaughter charges along with the DUI conviction. Also, a defendant must participate in an alcohol treatment program within six months of having your license being reinstated.

Implied Consent Law

Florida also has what is known as an implied consent law. This means that if you refuse to take a chemical test, you can be fined and have your license suspended.

Remember, a Florida DUI can seriously complicate your life, so hand over your keys if you plan on drinking in the Sunshine State.