The Florida criminal justice system aims to make punishments fit the crime. For this reason, potential penalties often increase for multiple criminal convictions. Today, Hager & Schwartz will examine how penalties increase for subsequent driving under the influence (DUI) convictions.
Definition of DUI
Florida Statute § 316.193 is the state law relating to driving under the influence (DUI.) The law says people are guilty of DUIs when they are driving or are in actual physical control of vehicles while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or any controlled substance "when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.”
A DUI involving a BAC of 0.08% or more is a "per se” DUI, which is the Latin phrase for “by itself” or “in itself.” A BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered prima facie evidence (evidence that is accepted as correct until proven otherwise) that an individual was under the influence of alcoholic beverages, even if the person was in control of their rational faculties.
People may face stiffer DUI penalties when arrested for this crime on multiple occasions. In Florida, penalties increase with each subsequent DUI offense, so any person facing charges in the greater Miami area should contact a Miami criminal defense attorney at Hager & Schwartz.
1st DUI Consequences
A first DUI arrest classifies as a second-degree misdemeanor.
Potential penalties for a first-time arrest may include:
- Up to six months in jail;
- Fine of up to $1,000;
- At least 50 hours of public service or a community work project;
- Impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle operated by the alleged offender for 10 days or for the unexpired term of any lease or rental agreement that expires within 10 days (unless the family of the defendant has no other mode of transportation);
- Completion of a Level I DUI program;
- Driver’s license revocation for six months up to a year.
Now, it is possible to refuse to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test, but it may lead to a license suspension of one year for a first refusal and 18 months or more for subsequent refusals.
Additionally, when a person faces a first-time DUI conviction resulting from a BAC of 0.15% or higher, the sentence may result in enhanced penalties that include up to nine months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000 as well as installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for at least six continuous months in all vehicles owned or operated by an alleged offender at their own expense.
Now that we’ve covered first-time penalties let’s take a look at the penalties for a second conviction.
2nd DUI Consequences
Florida has a five-year period under which prior DUI convictions can increase potential penalties for subsequent convictions. When a second DUI occurs more than five years after a first conviction, then the second offense is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor and carries all of the same penalties as a first-time DUI conviction.
However, when a second offense occurs within five years of the prior offense, then the second DUI conviction becomes a first-degree misdemeanor.
A second conviction could lead to the following penalties:
- Up to nine months in jail;
- Fine of up to $2,000;
- All vehicles owned are impounded or immobilized for 30 days or for the unexpired term of any lease or rental agreement that expires within 30 days (unless the family of the defendant has no other mode of transportation);
- Installation of ignition interlock device;
- Minimum driver’s license revocation for five years.
Additionally, a second conviction requires similar administrative penalties as a first conviction like completing a DUI program.
Now that we’ve covered penalties for a second conviction let’s take a look at the punishments for a third conviction.
3rd DUI Consequences
With a third DUI, the "lookback period" extends to 10 years, and a conviction could result in a third-degree felony.
Potential penalties for a third DUI conviction within 10 years include:
- Fine of up to $5,000;
- Mandatory imprisonment of 30 days and potentially up to 9 months;
- DUI School Level II attendance;
- Impoundment or immobilization of vehicles for 90 days (unless the family of the defendant has no other mode of transportation);
- Mandatory driver's license revocation of 10 years.
Contact a Miami Criminal Defense Attorney
Regardless of the number of past DUI convictions on your record, keep in mind that a new DUI arrest is not the same as a conviction, and there are several potential errors police make during a DUI arrest that could be the basis for a reduction in or a dismissal of criminal charges.
Therefore, it’s never wise to agree to a plea deal without talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area.
Hager & Schwartz is an award-winning law firm that can help you fight to achieve the most favorable outcome for your case. Our firm understands the tremendous stress that DUI charges can cause, but we will keep you fully informed while handling your case. If you want criminal defense that doesn’t quit, you want Hager & Schwartz on your side!
Call (305) 330-1360 now for a free consultation concerning your criminal case.