Criminal Proceedings

Florida DUI – Criminal Proceedings

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious criminal offense that carries harsh fines and penalties. Under Florida law it is illegal to operate a vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. This means that if you are pulled over and your BAC measures 0.08% or higher, you will be charged with a crime. If you are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive in Florida with a BAC of 0.02% or higher. Additionally, if an officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and you refuse to submit to breath, blood or urine testing, your refusal can be used against you in court. If your driver’s license has been suspended before for refusing a breath, blood or urine test, your refusal will also be deemed a misdemeanor crime.

It is important to understand that in the State of Florida criminal sanctions are handled separately from the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Panama City or anywhere else in South Florida, you should consult with a team of DUI attorneys who can explain your legal rights and help guide you through the administrative (Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles) and criminal court systems.

Criminal Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Florida

In Florida, DUI offenders are subject to severe criminal fines and penalties, including significant time in jail. The fines and penalties will depend upon a number of factors, including your BAC level, whether you have been convicted of a DUI in the past, and whether you injured someone or damaged property in your DUI accident.

First DUI Conviction

If this is your first DUI conviction, you will face the following criminal penalties:

  • Your fine will range from $500 - $1,000. If your BAC measured 0.15% or more, or if there was a minor in your vehicle, your fine will increase to $1,000 - $2,000.
  • Jail Time. You may serve up to six months of incarceration. If your BAC measured 0.15% or more, or if there was a minor in your vehicle, your sentence could last up to nine months.
  • Probation Period. No more than one year.
  • Community Service. Mandatory 50 hours of community service. If you do not complete the community service, you will be subject to a fine of $10 per each required hour.
  • Vehicle Impoundment. 10 days.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IDD). IDD will be required.

Second DUI Conviction

If you have been convicted of a DUI in the past, your penalties will increase. In Florida, the look-back period for a DUI is five years. This means that if you are convicted of a second DUI within a period of five years of your first DUI, you will face steeper jail time and fines.  

  • Your fine will range from $1,000 - $2,000. If your BAC measured 0.15% or more, or if there was a minor in your vehicle, your fine will increase to $2,000 - $4,000.
  • Jail Time. You will serve up to nine months. If your BAC measured 0.15% or more, or if a minor was present in your vehicle, your sentence could last up to 12 months.
  • Vehicle Impoundment. 30 days.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IDD). IDD will be required.

Third DUI Conviction

The look-back period for a third DUI offense is 10 years. This means that if your third offense occurs within 10 years of your second DUI, you will face stiffer penalties and be charged with a third degree felony.

  • Your fine will range from $2,000 - $5,000. If your BAC measured 0.15% or more, or if there was a minor in your vehicle, your fine will not be less than $4,000.
  • Jail Time. Up to 12 months. If your third DUI is within 10 years of your second DUI, you are subject to mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days and up to five years of jail time.
  • Vehicle Impoundment. 90 days.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IDD). IDD will be required.

Fourth or Subsequent DUI Conviction

  • Minimum fine of $2,000
  • Jail Time. Up to five years (felony conviction)
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IDD). IDD will be required

Panama City DUI Attorneys Can Help

Whether this is your first DUI or if you have been convicted before, you need to make certain that you are represented by an experienced attorney who knows what it takes to successfully defend a DUI case in Florida. Attorney Gus Soto is a skilled DUI defense attorney who will aggressively fight your criminal charges. Attorney Soto offers free initial consultations and can be reached at 888-440-7686 or by completing the online contact form.