Miami DUI Defense Attorneys
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Driving Under the Influence: What Are the Consequences?

Driving under the influence, also known as a DUI, can have serious legal consequences. Under Florida law, a DUI is determined by impairment of normal faculties, or a blood or breath alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or more if the driver is over 21. If the driver is under 21, the legal BAL is .02. While a DUI is often associated with alcohol, a driver can be impaired by prescription medications or drugs, including medical marijuana. Florida law enforces punishments that increase in severity with each instance of a DUI charge.

For first offenses, the penalties are less steep, but there are more options available for sentencing. These punishments may include:

  • Fines: If your BAL was between .08 and .15, the fine is $500 to $1,000. If your BAL was over .15, or you were driving with a minor in the car, the fine is $1,000 to $2,000.
  • Community service: You can be sentenced to serve a mandatory 50 hours of service, or pay $10 in additional fines for every hour of service you do not meet.
  • Probation: The combined period of incarceration and probation you serve may not exceed one year.
  • Imprisonment: If your BAL was between .08 and .15, you may serve no more than 6 months imprisonment. For a BAL over .15 or the presence of a minor in the vehicle, you may serve no more than 9 months.
  • Impoundment or Immobilization of Vehicle: Unless the vehicle is the sole transportation for your family, your vehicle can be impounded or immobilized for 10 days.
  • License revocation: You might have your driver’s license taken away for no less than 180 days, but no more than 1 year.

Second offenses are handled more firmly, and also factor in how long it’s been since the first conviction. The penalties for second time offenders include:

  • Fines: For a BAL between .08 and .15, fines range from $1,000 to $2,000. With a minor in the vehicle or a BAL over .15, fines are between $2,000 and $4,000.
  • Imprisonment: For convictions that occur more than 5 years after the prior offense and a BAL between .08 and .15, you can serve no more than 9 months imprisonment. If your BAL is over .15 or a minor was in the car, but it has been 5 years since your last conviction, you may serve no more than 12 months. If this is the second conviction in 5 years, there is mandatory imprisonment of 10 days, 48 hours of which must be served consecutively.
  • Impoundment or Immobilization of Vehicle: If this is the second conviction within a 5 year period, the vehicle may be impounded for 30 days. As with first time convictions, the vehicle may not be impounded if it is the sole transportation for your family.
  • License revocation: If your last conviction was over 5 years ago, your driver’s license may be revoked for 180 days to 1 year. If the last conviction occurred within 5 years, the minimum amount of time your license will be revoked is 5 years, and you may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 1 year.

Third-time offenders are also subject to varying penalties, depending on how long it’s been since the last DUI conviction.

  • Fines: If it has been more than 10 years since the first conviction, the fine is $2,000 to $5,000 for a BAL between .08 and .15. The minimum fine is $4,000, if your BAL was over .15 or if a minor was present in the vehicle.
  • Imprisonment: If the last conviction was within 10 years, the mandatory imprisonment period must be 30 days, with at least 48 hours served consecutively. If it has been more than 10 years since your last offense, the imprisonment time you receive may not be longer than 12 months.
  • Impoundment or Immobilization of Vehicle: For a third conviction in 10 years, the vehicle may be impounded or immobilized for 90 days, unless it is the only vehicle owned by your family.
  • License revocation: Within 10 years of the last conviction, you may lose your driver’s license for a minimum of 10 years, and may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 2 years.

The consequences of a DUI conviction are serious and can have a lasting impact on your life, your family, and your driving record. If you’ve been accused of a DUI, an experienced DUI attorney can help you fight your charges.

Protect yourself from the consequences of a DUI charge by contacting our Miami DUI lawyers at Beckham Solis, Attorneys at Law for a free consultation.

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