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What are the penalties for DUI in Florida?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2023 | Firm News

It’s that time of year again–the holiday season. It seems like there’s always a party or gathering to attend, and alcohol is never in short supply. This being the case, it’s no surprise that drunk driving arrests tend to spike in December. But what happens after a drunk driver gets arrested? What sort of penalties will they face? Here’s what drivers can expect after being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida.

Florida’s Drunk Driving Laws

In Florida, drivers can be charged with DUI if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or greater. The threshold for commercial driver’s license holders is lower at 0.04. Law enforcement officers gather this evidence by testing their breath, blood, or urine. If drivers refuse this testing, they automatically lose their driving privileges for a year under Florida’s implied consent law. This is the penalty for a first offense–the penalties become increasingly severe upon repeat offenses within a certain time frame.

The Penalties For Drunk Driving In Florida

When a driver is convicted of DUI for the first time, the penalties are:

  • A fine between $500 and $1,000
  • Up to six months in prison
  • A 10-day vehicle impoundment period
  • A driver’s license suspension period of 180 days to one year

If a driver had a BAC of .15 or greater, there was a minor in the vehicle with them, or they caused an accident that resulted in property damage, bodily injury, or death, the penalties are more severe. Similarly, the consequences become increasingly more severe upon repeat DUI offenses within a certain time frame.

It’s possible for drivers convicted of DUI to regain their driving privileges before their license suspension period has been fulfilled. To do so, they need to request an administrative hearing and attend DUI school. In some cases, they may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

What Should You Do If You Get Pulled Over For Drunk Driving In Florida?

If you get stopped for suspected DUI, cooperate with basic questioning, but don’t answer any potentially incriminating questions about your driving or if you’ve been drinking. You may refuse a roadside breath test and field sobriety tests with no penalties. However, you can’t refuse testing without being penalized if you get arrested. If you are taken into custody, get help from a Florida DUI defense attorney immediately.