Have you or a loved one been accused of driving under the influence? As a Northwest Florida resident, you could face harsh Florida DUI penalties. From fines to vehicle impoundment and even license revocation, these penalties could prove devastating. The more detailed your understanding of the state’s DUI laws, the better. Below, we offer a thorough overview of local DUI regulations — and what you can expect if you’re arrested for driving under the influence:
What Constitutes a DUI in Florida?
DUI charges and sentences differ considerably from one state to the next. In Florida, driving under the influence is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or above. However, the state also highlights the “impairment of normal faculties” as an additional source of proof for DUI arrests and convictions.
Common DUI Penalties in Florida
The penalties for DUI can be harsh in the state of Florida — particularly for those with a history of driving while intoxicated. Fines can be expected regardless of the driver’s history or level of impairment at the time of arrest. Depending on the circumstances, additional consequences could include imprisonment, vehicle impoundment, or license revocation. These penalties are described in greater detail below:
At minimum, a first Florida DUI conviction will result in fines of $500. If, however, the driver’s BAC exceeds 0.15 at the time of arrest or if a minor was present in the vehicle, fines could reach $2,000. These fines continue to increase with every additional conviction. Upon the third or fourth conviction, drivers can expect to pay at least $2,000 and up to $5,000.
Florida drivers convicted of DUI nearly always give up their license for at least a few months. The length of the suspension largely depends on conviction history and whether any injuries occurred due to the most recent incident. For example, a first offense carries a minimum 180 days of license revocation, unless a bodily injury took place — then, license revocation lasts a full three years. After the second offense, revocation could last up to five years. In select cases, however, drivers may qualify for a hardship reinstatement. Revocation is permanent for DUI convictions involving manslaughter.
In addition to license revocation, Destin DUI cases often lead to vehicle impoundment lasting up to 90 days. Impoundment does not occur during incarceration — and it can sometimes be avoided altogether if the driver’s family lacks other forms of transportation.
While imprisonment is not likely for first-time offenders, it can come into play in cases involving multiple convictions, bodily injury, or manslaughter. Mandatory minimum sentences often accompany second or third DUIs if prior convictions have occurred recently. Imprisonment rarely exceeds five years, unless the driver is deemed a violent or habitual offender.
Harsh repercussions could be in your future if you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol. At this stressful time, you need guidance from a Destin DUI attorney who understands the full scope of your case. Attorney John F. Green will serve as a loyal advocate every step of the way. Reach out today to learn more about your legal options as a Florida resident — or to schedule your case consultation.