Consuming alcohol or taking drugs before getting behind the wheel of a car is never a good idea – not only is driving while intoxicated or impaired extremely unsafe, but also illegal, too.
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI in Florida, it’s important that you understand the penalties for a first-time DUI. Florida DUI penalties are harsh, and are designed to deter others from committing the crime.
If you are facing your potential first conviction of DUI in Florida, reach out to our experienced DUI attorneys in Orlando at the law office of Skubiak & Rivas for a consultation and more information about your legal options.
What Constitutes a DUI in Florida?
As found in The 2018 Florida Statutes, Section 316.193, a person is guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida if the person is operating a motor vehicle or is in actual physical control of a vehicle and:
- The person is under the influence of alcohol or another substance to the point that the person’s normal faculties are impaired; or/and
- The person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 percent or more.
For a First Conviction of DUI What Is the Penalty?
If you are arrested, charged, and convicted of a DUI in Florida, you may assume that the penalties won’t be that bad, especially if this is your first-time offense. But the state of Florida takes drinking and driving seriously, and per the same section of Florida code cited above, any person who is convicted of a DUI in Florida will face:
- A fine of between $500 and $1,000 for a first conviction; and
- Imprisonment of up to six months.
Note that if a person’s BAC was .15 percent or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the DUI, the fine increases to a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $2,000, and the imprisonment time increases to a maximum of nine months rather than six.
In addition to possible imprisonment and a large fine, a first conviction of a DUI can also result in up to 10 days of vehicle impoundment/immobilization. Further, the driver’s license of an individual who commits a DUI will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days, and can be suspended for up to one year, even for a first offense.
If a person wants to have their license reinstated for employment purposes, they must agree to the installation of an interlock ignition device (IID) for up to six months if they had a BAC above .15, and they must also attend DUI school.
In addition to the various administrative penalties listed above, it is important to remember that a DUI can also have a very negative effect on your opportunities. Being convicted of a DUI can impede your ability to secure employment, housing, education opportunities, and more.
The penalties for a subsequent DUI conviction are even more serious.
How Working with an Experienced Traffic and DUI Attorney Can Help
There is nothing easy about being charged with a DUI. Florida first-offense DUI cases can be tricky to navigate, especially without competent legal counsel. When you work with a DUI attorney, your attorney will help you to understand:
- The penalties you are facing;
- Various motions that you may be able to file to reduce your risk of a conviction;
- Defenses to your DUI charges;
- How to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution; and
- The DUI case process.
While there is no requirement to work with an attorney, doing so is almost always within a person’s best interests; representing yourself is ill-advised, and may result in a less favorable case outcome. A DUI conviction on your record can haunt you for years – you can take steps to avoid the worst consequences and penalties by partnering with a trusted attorney.
Call Our Florida Traffic and DUI Lawyers Today
If you are facing DUI charges in Florida, you may be scared about what will happen next. We understand your fear and anxiety, and want you to know that we believe in providing competent defense to those who are facing DUI charges in our state. As soon as you are arrested and charged, we encourage you to exercise your right to legal counsel by calling our law firm immediately.
We will provide you with a free consultation, and, if you decide to hire our firm, will provide you with the aggressive representation you both need and deserve. Reach our law firm today online or by phone to get started.