The state of Florida is serious about the effort to reduce drunk driving incidents. In fact, the courts would like to see drunk driving reduced to zero.
You probably know that fines exist for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), but are you aware of additional penalties the courts can impose for a first offense?
Driving under the influence of alcohol or chemical or controlled substances is illegal if your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is .08% or higher. For a first DUI conviction, the fine is from $500 to $1,000. If your BAC is .15% or higher or if you were driving with a minor in your vehicle, the fine is between $1,000 and $2,000. Also, depending on the BAC level, you could find yourself behind bars for six to nine months.
Loss of driving privileges
If there is no bodily injury involved with a first-offense DUI, you face driver’s license revocation of 180 days to one year. Revocation climbs to three years if you did cause an injury. If you refuse to take a breath, blood or urine test, you can face license suspension of one year. However, as your attorney can explain, if the loss of your driving privileges results in hardship, reinstatement is possible if you first complete DUI school.
If your BAC is .08% or higher, the court may also order the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicle you operate. The IID must remain in place for a period of at least six months.
The court also has the option of placing you on probation for up to one year. Additionally, the court can order you to participate in a minimum of 50 hours of public service or participation in a community work project.