The state of Florida has some severe penalties in place – even for the first-time DUI defendant. Those penalties involve both administrative and criminal consequences.
The administrative penalties include a license suspension for at least six months, which could go to a year depending on blood alcohol level (BAC).If there is a minor in the car when stopped the driver will have their privilege to drive suspended for 9 months or more, or it may even be revoked.
A BAC of .08% (.02% for a driver under 21) makes the driver legally drunk in the eyes of the law.Reinstating the driver’s license requires payment of fines along with an administrative fee of $130and the driver will be required to pass a DUI course. Depending upon the specific details of the incident, anignitioninterlock device may be installed, and there is a fee for that as well.
The criminal penalties are proof that the state of Florida takes DUI very seriously. Possible jail time can be incurred – up to nine months, depending on whether a minor was in the car or the BAC was .15% or above. Fines can range from $500 to $2,000 depending the on who is present in the car and BAC of the driver.
Once convicted, the driver will have to serve 50 hours of community service, probation, and impoundment of thevehicle for 10 days. The penalties for a second or third DUI get even more expensive, and it takes a lot more than just money to get back on the road.
During the impoundment, the car is impounded and made immobile for a period of ten days. This can be a major problem but there may be a possible solution. If it can be demonstrated that a family member needs the vehicle to get to work or it is the only means of transportation, the probation officer or judge can waive this part of the punishment. It can also be waived if the vehicle is used in a business and an employee needs to use it to keep the business going
Once the defendant gets past the initial period of impoundment, it may be possible to get a hardship license to allow them to get to and from work. This requires an ignition interlock device that is used to prove you aren’t under the influence while using the car. This device will even call for another sample while driving to make sure someone else hasn’t breathed into the device for the driver when they first started the car.
Thereare potential scenarios where the person convicted can’t get a hardship license. If this is the case, the driver will incur additional travel expenses, such as using ride sharing services or public transportation. The expenseincurred is far worse for those who need their license for their job. Truck drivers, taxi drivers, and delivery drivers can all lose their primary source of income due to a DUI conviction. Even train operators will not be allowed to operate a train with a suspended driver’s license.
Anyone facing a DUI must have an attorney with them to represent them to the court and get the best possible outcome for their case.At the Stokes Law firm,our criminal law experts have many years of combined experience dealing with DUI cases.
If you are facing a DUI, contact us today for a consultation. Stating the case for a hardship usage of the vehicle for work and waiving the impoundment requirement are just two things that our lawyers canwork to make happen for a first-time defendant. Our legal team will also explore potential options to get your charges and subsequent fines reduced – or even eliminated – to minimize the hardship you’ll face as a result of a DUI charge.