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When is a first-time DUI a felony?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2023 | DUI, DUI Arrest |

DUI offenders might receive a felony charge, even for a first offense. A felony DUI carries harsher penalties than a DUI misdemeanor.

The Florida Statutes define a felony DUI for first-time offenders as one that causes serious bodily injury or death. This can include injuries such as broken bones, internal bleeding, or head trauma. If an intoxicated driver causes a deadly accident, the offending driver will face a manslaughter or murder charge.

Penalties for first-time felony offenders

Penalties for a felony DUI in Florida can include a suspended license, fines and jail time. For a first-time offender, fines can range from $1,000 to $5,000, and jail time can range from five years to life. A driver’s license suspension might last up to three years. Additionally, the court may order the individual to install an ignition interlock device. Florida legislation states that the convicted person must pay for the installation and monthly fees.

Penalties for second-time felony offenders

If the individual commits a second felony DUI, the penalties are more severe. Fines can range from $2,000 to $10,000, and jail time can range from ten years to life. A driver’s license suspension can last up to five years.

It is important to note that, in Florida, an individual can receive a felony DUI charge even if they are not over the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC). The prosecution only needs to prove that alcohol or drugs impaired the individual’s ability to drive.

A felony DUI in Florida is a serious crime that carries significant penalties. Understanding the severe consequences of drinking and driving for themselves and others on the road is essential.