The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida are harsh. Among other consequences, a DUI conviction may result in driving restrictions, possible jail time, and a criminal record. If you have been arrested for drunk or drugged driving, defending against the allegations may help to avoid a conviction or unnecessary penalties. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our St. Petersburg DUI lawyers understand the range of penalties that may be imposed for a DUI. If you are worried about DUI penalties, we are prepared to address your concerns and navigate you through the potential impact of a DUI.Overview of Florida DUI Penalties
In general, the penalties for a Florida DUI conviction may include jail time, probation, a fine, license suspension, vehicle impoundment, installation of an ignition interlock device, attendance in a substance abuse treatment program, and/or public service. The potential penalties may be greater for subsequent DUI convictions and for DUI offenses that involve aggravating circumstances, such as a high blood alcohol content (BAC), injuries to other passengers, a DUI with a minor in the vehicle and other factors. Moreover, some driving restrictions may apply after an arrest or DUI refusal, regardless of whether or not you are ultimately convicted. A knowledgeable attorney can help you evaluate your options and make an informed decision in your DUI case.Mandatory Minimum Fine
A first-time DUI conviction is punishable by a minimum fine of $500 up to $1,000. A second conviction is punishable by a $1,000 to $2,000 fine. For subsequent DUI convictions, the minimum fine is $2,000. The fine may be increased if your blood alcohol level was .15 or higher at the time of the offense or if there was a minor in the vehicle. In addition, you may be ordered to pay financial restitution to victims if the DUI involved a personal injury or property damage.Imprisonment and/or Probation
The maximum jail sentence for a first-time DUI conviction is six months. For a second conviction, the maximum sentence is nine months. A third conviction within 10 years of a prior DUI is punishable by a mandatory minimum 30-day sentence. A conviction may also result in a probation sentence for up to one year. For a first-time DUI, the court may order you to participate in public service or a community work project for a minimum of 50 hours as a condition of probation.License Revocation and Vehicle Restrictions
For a first offense, your driver license will be revoked for a minimum of 180 days, up to one year. A second DUI within five years of a prior conviction is subject to a minimum five-year revocation, with potentially longer revocation periods for subsequent offenses. In many cases, however, you will be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after a period of time. If you qualify for a permanent or restricted license, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a certain period. In addition, with rare exception, the court will order impoundment of your vehicle for at least 10 days as a condition of probation.DUI School and Other Treatment Programs
Completion of a DUI course is required after a conviction, and includes a substance abuse evaluation. The court may also order a substance abuse treatment course at your expense as a condition of reporting probation. In most cases, time served in a residential alcoholism or drug treatment program may be credited toward a sentence of incarceration.Retain a Lawyer in St. Petersburg
You may be able to avoid unnecessary DUI penalties by hiring an experienced attorney to defend against the charges. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our lawyers can protect your interests and argue for the best results possible in your case. We can represent people in Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay region, including Clearwater and St. Petersburg. Contact Blake & Dorsten online or call 727-286-6141 to arrange a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.