Understanding Florida’s Tough DUI Laws
Florida has some of the most stringent DUI laws in the nation. Even a first-time offense can result in some fairly steep penalties. To keep our state’s roads safe and to stay out of trouble, it is important for motorists to understand the law as it pertains to drinking and driving.
The line between driving sober and driving under the influence is surprisingly easy to cross. The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in Florida is .08 percent for adults over 21 years of age and .02 percent for minors. With a single drink raising the measurable BAC level by around .05 percent, it is common for drivers to be arrested for DUI even if they don’t feel the slightest bit intoxicated.
DUI penalties are no laughing matter, and become more severe with each repeated offense:
- A first-time DUI conviction can carry with it $500 to $1,000 in fines. In addition, your license may be suspended anywhere from 180 days to a full year, and you could even receive six to nine months in jail. If a minor was in the vehicle when the offense occurred, the fines may double.
- A second DUI conviction may result in $1,000 and $2,000 in fines. If the second offense occurs within five years of the first conviction, the state imposes a mandatory ten-day jail sentence. Suspensions and potential jail time remain the same as a first offense; however, if the driver’s BAC level is .15 percent or higher or a minor was in the car at the time of the second offense, fines can range up to $4,000 and jail sentences can increase to up to 12 months.
- If the third conviction occurs more than 10 years after the second offense, drivers face fines between $2,000 and $5,000, as well as the same standard suspension and jail times associated with prior offenses. A third conviction occurring within 10 years of the second offense, however, requires a mandatory 30 days incarceration, in addition to the standard penalties.
Considering the serious penalties associated with DUI in Florida, it’s critical to consult a skilled Orange County criminal defense lawyer if you’ve been accused of drunk driving. Contact McShane & McShane law firm for more information.