Driving under the influence can result in a serious accident that harms yourself and others. It can also land you in legal trouble, regardless of whether it is your first or fiftieth offense.
The state of Florida takes DUI very seriously, as reflected by their strict punishments. Learning more about DUI charges and subsequent penalties ensures you understand your rights and obligations according to the law.
The severity of penalties depends on a number of factors, including how many previous offenses a person has on their record. For first offenses, prison terms cannot exceed six months, unless there was a minor in the vehicle or the person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is greater than .15%. In this case, the prison term cannot exceed nine months.
Basic second offenses also receive jail terms of no more than nine months, with an elevated term of 12 months if certain circumstances apply. Additionally, a person can receive a mandatory ten-day sentence if the second offense occurred within five years of the previous one.
Fine schedules also vary according to previous convictions. Basic first convictions can receive a fine of up to $1,000, but no less than $500. If the person’s BAC is .15% or higher, the minimum fine is $1,000, with a maximum of $2,000. Second convictions share the same fine schedule unless the person has an elevated BAC. In this case, the minimum is $2,000, while the maximum is $4,000.
A third conviction within ten years of the previous one elevates fines even further. If convicted, the person can receive a fine of at least $2,000, but not more than $5,000. In the event of a high BAC, the minimum fine changes to $4,000.
Other circumstances can cause fines and jail time to become even higher. This is often the case when a drunk driver causes a major accident involving serious injuries and property damage.