Florida DUI Laws and Penalties

What is considered “driving under the influence” (DUI) in Florida and the consequences of a conviction.

In Florida, a motorist can get a DUI for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while “under the influence” or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more.

A driver who is deprived of full possession of normal faculties will be considered under the influence. However, any driver with a BAC of .08% or greater is guilty of a “per se” DUI.

Penalties for Florida DUI Convictions

The penalties for a Florida DUI are set by statute, governed by the number of prior DUI convictions and the circumstances of the incident. The judge is permitted to assign jail, fines, and license revocation within the following parameters.

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense-felony

Jail Time

Up to 6 months

Up to 9 months

Up to 12 months

Fines

$500 to $1,000

$1,000 to $2,000

$2,000 to $5,000

License Revocation

180 days to 1 year

180 days to 1 year

180 days to 1 year

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

Possible 6 months (required if BAC of .15% or more)

2 years

2 years

First offense. In addition to the stated penalties, a first-offense DUI requires one year of probation, 50 hours of community service, and a ten-day vehicle impoundment. If the driver had a minor passenger or a BAC of .15% or more, the judge can order up to nine months in jail and a fine of $1,000 to $2,000.

Second offense. If a second offense occurs within five years of the prior, the judge will order a minimum ten days in jail, five-year license revocation, and 30-day vehicle impoundment. If a second offense involves a minor passenger or a BAC of .15% or greater, the judge can order up to 12 months jail and a fine of $2,000 to $4,000.

Third offense. A third offense that occurs within ten years of a prior is a felony and will require 30 days to five years in jail, a 90-day vehicle impoundment, and a ten-year driver’s license revocation. If the driver had a minor passenger or a BAC of .15% or greater, the fine will be at least $4,000.

All violators must enroll in a monthly-reporting probation and a substance abuse course. The judge can also order sobriety and drug monitoring. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in probation violations and driver’s license revocation.

Implied Consent and Refusing a Blood or Breath Test in Florida

Florida law requires all drivers lawfully arrested for a DUI to consent to a chemical test of their breath, blood, or urine to determine the presence and amount of alcohol or drugs. This “implied consent” law imposes a one-year license revocation on drivers who refuse testing and an 18-month revocation for any subsequent refusal. The fact that the driver refused testing can also be used at trial to prove culpability.

A breath test refusal by a driver with a prior refusal violation can be charged as a misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail.

Restricted Licenses

A driver who is revoked for a DUI conviction or chemical test refusal may be eligible for a restricted license. The restricted license limits where the holder can drive, requires an IID, and often requires the holder to be enrolled in a substance abuse course or DUI supervision program.

Underage DUI

Drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from having a BAC of .02% or more. A violation is not considered a criminal offense but will result in a six-month license suspension—one year for a second offense. If the BAC was .05% or more, the youth will also have to complete a DUI education program prior to license reinstatement.

An underage driver who refuses to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test will be suspended for one year. The suspension will be 18 months with a prior refusal.

Plea negotiations

DUI offenses involving manslaughter, a BAC of .15%, or prior DUI convictions cannot be plead down, reduced, or dismissed. However, other eligible offenses may be eligible for a DUI diversion or to be plead down to a “wet reckless” charge to avoid certain penalties and repercussions.

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