Twenty nine people die every day due to drunk drivers on the road. And, even though organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have helped significantly reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road since 1980, there are still people who choose to drive drunk. If you or someone you know has been involved in a drunk driving incident and has received a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, DUI lawyer Stroleny, strongly recommends hiring a professional lawyer to help represent you in your case.
The reason you need an experienced lawyer to represent you in the state of Florida, is that there are serious penalties for a drunk driving charge. So, having representation can help to lessen these penalties. Although, it does depend on the circumstances of the charge, like if manslaughter was involved.
But, to give you an overview of what penalties are included when being charged with a DUI in Florida, we have compiled a list.
The penalties are based on first, second, third, and fourth convictions. Also, any jail time that needs to be served may be served in a rehabilitation center upon the court’s decision.
First DUI Conviction
If it is your first conviction then you will serve time in prison, but not more than six months. If your blood alcohol level (BAL) was .15 or higher or a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the accident then you will serve no more than nine months in prison. You will also be fined $500 to $1,000.
Second DUI Conviction
If you have committed your second DUI conviction then you will serve not more than nine months in prison. If your BAL was more than .15 or a minor was in the vehicle you will serve up to twelve months in prison. If your second conviction is within five years of the first conviction, there is a mandatory imprisonment of ten days, no matter the plea. You will also be fined no less than $1,000 and no more than $2,000.
Third DUI Conviction
If the third conviction is within ten years of the prior conviction there is a maximum of thirty days to be served. If the third DUI conviction has taken place after ten years you can serve up to twelve months in prison. The defendant will also be charged no less than $2,000 and no more than $5,000 in fines.
Fourth or More DUI Conviction
If this is your fourth or more DUI conviction you will serve up to five years in prison. Although, if you are a violent career criminal, habitual felony offender, habitual felony violent offender, or three-time felony violent offender you may have additional penalties and jail time. A fourth or more conviction is also considered a third-degree felony and will pay fines no less than $2,000.
The penalties for a DUI are serious in the state of Florida, which is why hiring a lawyer to help you is essential.
There are also additional penalties for extenuating circumstances in a drunk driving accident.
- Damage to property or another person is a first-degree misdemeanor. When this happens, you can pay up to $1,000 in fines, and depending on the damage to the property or other person, you can spend up to life in prison.
- Serious bodily injury of another person is a third-degree felony. When this happens, you can pay a maximum of $5,000 in fines and spend up to life in prison, with mandatory imprisonment of at least four years. If you have prior felony charges, you may have additional penalties.
- The death of another person or child is manslaughter and is punishable as a first and second-degree felony. When this happens, you will pay up to $10,000 in fines and serve up to life in prison. Again, if you have prior charges, there could be more penalties involved.
- Added to all these penalties is getting your driver’s license taken away from you for at least six months and up to two years after the incident occurred, no matter if it is your first or fourth conviction. The more convictions that occur, the longer your driver’s license will be taken away.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an unnecessary risk and can take away many of the freedoms you enjoy today. When in doubt, it is best not to get behind the wheel and wait until you are completely sober to drive. DUI’s are preventable, but they do happen, so if you have been charged with a DUI, be sure to contact an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer to help represent you in your case.