Florida DUI Laws and Penalties – All You Need to Know

Florida DUI Laws and
Donald Day

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs, or another controlled substance that could impair your driving is a serious offense in Florida and will be met with fines, possible jail time, and other potential penalties upon conviction. Understanding all the currently applicable laws and penalties can help you know your choices as you continue driving in Florida.

How Is a DUI Charge Proven?

If you have been arrested or are being charged with a DUI, it is necessary to understand the legal process you are facing. Prosecutors will be gathering evidence collected at the time of the arrest to prove at least one of two conditions:

  • Your blood alcohol level (BAL) was at .08 or higher.
  • You were driving while impaired.

To determine the BAL at the time of the offense, police officers will administer a breathalyzer test, blood test, or urine test to analyze the alcohol content or presence of drugs in the bloodstream. To demonstrate driver impairment, the officer may administer a field sobriety test, or otherwise indicate sufficient evidence, such as dilated pupils, that the driver was intoxicated. Note that these laws apply no matter what kind of vehicle is being operated, including boats.

What Are the Penalties for DUI in Florida?

The particular penalties incurred by a DUI offense charge will vary depending on several factors, including the number of previous offenses, your BAL at the time of your arrest, and whether there were any minors in the vehicle.

  • First offenders. First-time DUI charges are met with between $500 and $1,000 in fines. Imprisonment is not mandated but can be imposed in some cases for no more than six months. Driver’s licenses are revoked for between 180 and 365 days. Additional penalties may be imposed by the court.If a minor was present in the vehicle or if the BAL was .15 or above, fines increase to between $1,000 and $2,000, and the maximum jail time increases to nine months.
  • Second-time offenders. Individuals facing their second DUI offense will be penalized with between $1,000 and $2,000 in fines and up to nine months of jail time. Driver’s licenses are revoked for a minimum of five years.If a minor was present in the vehicle or if the BAL was .15 or above, fines double to between $2,000 and $4,000, jail time increases to up to 12 months, and a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) is installed on the vehicle for one to two years.
  • Third-time offenders. Those who have been charged with a third consecutive DUI face between $2,000 and $5,000 in fines. Imprisonment becomes mandatory, requiring at least 30 days of jail time. Driver’s licenses are revoked for a minimum of ten years, and IIDs are mandated for two years.If a minor was present in the vehicle or if the BAL was .15 or above, the minimum fine is $4,000.
  • Fourth or more subsequent offenses. If you are charged with four or more consecutive DUIs, you will face a minimum of $2,000 in fines and a maximum of five years imprisonment. A mandatory IID will be installed, and your driver’s license will be permanently revoked.If a minor was present in the vehicle or if the BAL was .15 or above, the minimum fine is still $4,000.

It is important to note that Florida law offers a five-year “look-back” period for DUI charges. This means that, when counting previous offenses, the courts will only consider offenses within the last five years. An individual with a DUI charge 7 years ago and another one 3 years ago will only be penalized with a second offense for a subsequent DUI charge rather than a third offense.

FAQs About Florida DUI Laws and Penalties

What Is the Penalty for a DUI in Florida?

The penalties for a DUI in Florida will vary depending on the number of prior convictions for the same offense and the blood alcohol level at the time of the occurrence. These penalties include a fine of between $500 and $4,000, up to five years imprisonment, and between 10 and 90 days of vehicle impoundment. These penalties do not include those for DUIs that involve bodily injury or manslaughter.

What Are the DUI Requirements in Florida?

In Florida, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol, chemical substances, drugs, or other controlled substances is a singular offense. To be charged, the prosecution must prove either an unlawful level of blood alcohol, which is .08 or higher, or prove that there was an impairment of normal faculties, often by administering a field sobriety test.

Is Jail Time Mandatory for the First DUI in Florida?

First-time DUI offenders in Florida could face up to six months in jail. However, this is a maximum imposed penalty. There is no minimum jail time requirement. This means that, depending on the circumstances of your case, you could face little to no jail time for a first-time DUI offense. However, depending on your BAL at the time of your arrest, it is common for officers to jail offenders at least until their BAL has reached a normal level.

What Is the Look-Back Period for a DUI in Florida?

The look-back period for a DUI is five years in Florida. Whereas most other states have either a ten-year look-back period or otherwise consider the lifetime record of the driver, Florida laws are fairly generous. As a result, multiple DUI offenders will only have their offenses considered by the court for the last five years, meaning that only the number of DUIs within that time period will be counted toward consecutive offenses and, therefore, harsher penalties.

Your Florida DUI Defense Lawyer

Hiring a Naples, FL DUI defense attorney is essential for ensuring that you are treated fairly and justly, no matter how many charges may be on your record. Our team at the Law Office of Donald P. Day is ready to provide you with a consultation to review the details of your case and fight on your behalf to secure the optimum outcome possible. If you are facing DUI charges, contact our office today.