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What are the penalties for drunk driving in Florida?

An individual faced with charges for drunk driving may wonder about the possible penalties, especially if this is not the first incident. It is important to recognize that penalties may be based on an individual's previous history with such incidents. It is also important to understand that the level of impairment may affect the penalties ascribed for a conviction on a DUI charge.

DUI in Florida is based on a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 percent or greater. First offenses typically involve the least fines with a first conviction carrying a potential fine of between $500 and $1,000. At one's second offense, these levels are between $1,000 and $2,000, and upon a third conviction, penalties rise to between $2,000 and $5,000 if an incident is more than 10 years later than the second offense. If first or second convictions involve a BAC of .15 percent or greater, possible penalties are twice those for a BAC between .08 and .15 percent. Upon a fourth or later conviction, a penalty of at least $2,000 can be assessed. A driver's license may also be revoked in connection with a DUI conviction based on a defendant's prior record and whether death or serious injuries occurred in an incident.

Additional penalties may include community service, probation, imprisonment and the impounding of one's vehicle. In some cases, sentencing may allow for participation in residential substance abuse treatment programs. Further penalties may be determined based on issues such as causing personal injury or damage to property. Felony charges are possible in cases involving serious injuries or death.

Because each DUI case is unique, an outcome will depend on a variety of facts. This information does not serve as legal advice, and it is important to note that only a defense attorney cab provide case-specific advice and strategies for addressing charges.

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, "Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws", September 12, 2014

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The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
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Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-3424

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