Florida DUI Laws and Penalties [2024 Updated]

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Florida DUI Laws and Penalties [2024 Updated]

Ruhl & Lux, PA /

The DUI arrest rate in Florida is .3% higher than the percentage rate in the entirety of the United States. With that in mind, you should know that judges take Florida DUI laws and penalties more seriously than other states. If you’re convicted, the penalties may be harsh and unforgiving.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI in Fort Myers, Sarasota, or Port Charlotte, Florida, turn to the experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Ruhl & Lux, P.A. They will fight to minimize any sentences brought against so that you can pursue a happy and safe future. Contact their criminal defense attorneys today to schedule a one-on-one consultation of your DUI case.

Your Rights and Laws During a DUI Stop

During a DUI stop in Florida, there are several rights and laws you should keep in mind. They include:

  • Right to Remain Silent

    You have the right to remain silent in order to prevent self-incrimination. You do not have to answer any questions from law enforcement officers. Anything you say could be used against you in court, so it is recommended not to make statements without an attorney present.

  • Right to Refuse Field Sobriety Tests

    Field sobriety tests, like walking in a straight line or standing on one leg, are voluntary in Florida. It is within your rights to refuse to perform field sobriety tests without facing immediate consequences. However, keep in mind that refusal may result in the officer relying on other evidence to establish probable cause.

  • Right to Implied Consent Notice

    Upon your arrest, you have the right to be informed of Florida’s implied consent law. This means you must consent to a blood or breath test if you are lawfully arrested for DUI. If you refuse these chemical tests, there may be legal penalties, whether you are convicted of DUI or not.

  • Right to Legal Counsel

    You have the right to request an attorney. Once you have requested an attorney, law enforcement should stop asking you questions.

DUI-PenaltiesIf you or a loved one has been arrested for drunk driving in Fort Myers, Sarasota, or Port Charlotte, Florida, turn to the experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Ruhl & Lux, P.A. They will fight to minimize any sentences brought against so that you can pursue a happy and safe future. Contact their criminal defense attorneys today to schedule a one-on-one consultation of your DUI case.

Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Florida

Depending on the circumstances of your BAC and past criminal record, the penalties for a DUI conviction in Florida can be life changing, from hefty fines to extensive jail time. You will benefit from having an attorney represent you and fight for the best outcome possible.

Jail Time

  • First Offense – Up to Six Months
  • Second Offense – Up to Nine Months
  • Third Offense – Up to 12 months
  • Subsequent Offenses – Up to Five Years

If your BAC was recorded at 0.15% or above, the jail time may be higher. Along with jail time, you will also be sentenced to at least a year of probation. These penalties can have a major impact on your personal reputation and professional opportunities. Contact Ruhl & Lux, P.A today to discuss your case with their criminal defense attorneys.

Fines

  • First Offense – $500 – $1,000
  • Second Offense – $1,000 – $2,000
  • Third Offense – $1,000 – $5,000
  • Subsequent Offenses – $2,000 – $5,000

Similar to jail time, if your BAC is recorded at 0.15% or higher, your minimum fines may be raised. This can put you in danger of becoming financially insecure, especially if you lose your job following the arrest and/or conviction. If you are facing a DUI conviction in Port Charlotte, Florida, having a DUI defense attorney from Ruhl & Lux, P.A. represent you can be a safe decision.

Impoundment of Vehicle

Unless your family has no other transportation available, the vehicle involved in the DUI-related arrest can be impounded or immobilized.

  • First Offense – 10 days
  • Second Offense (within five years of a prior conviction) – 30 days
  • Third Offense (within ten years of a prior conviction) – 90 days

If you are incarcerated, your vehicle impoundment or immobilization will not occur concurrently. Also, the court may dismiss an impoundment order for any vehicle that may be operated by the defendant’s employees or used for business.

Ignition Interlock Device

Florida may require the placement of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) as part of the penalties for a DUI conviction. An IID is a breathalyzer device installed in a vehicle’s ignition system that requires the driver to blow into it to measure their BAC. If the driver’s BAC is above a pre-set limit (usually 0.025% – 0.04%), the vehicle will fail to start.

An IID is usually mandated for those with multiple DUI convictions or those with a high BAC at the time of arrest. How long they will have it installed in their vehicle is dependent on court orders.

Additionally, Florida law requires that anyone who had their licenses reinstated following a suspension or revocation must also have an IID installed in their vehicle.

Suspension of License

Since a DUI directly involves a car or another motor vehicle, if you’re convicted, your license is most likely going to be suspended. A suspension can range anywhere from 180 days to five years for singular or multiple offenses. If your BAC is above 0.15%, you could lose your license for an even longer period of time. If other factors apply to you, such as a fourth offense, having a minor in the car during the arrest, or injuring someone else, you could lose your driver’s license for life.

Florida’s 10-Day Rule

Immediately upon your arrest for DUI, Florida law suspends your driver’s license. For the next ten days, you may only drive for business purposes. Once these ten days pass, your license will either be fully suspended, suspended with employment privileges, or reinstated. The outcome depends on your actions within the ten-day window after your arrest.

During the 10-day period for first-time offenders, you can request an administrative hearing or forfeit your right to a review hearing for a business-purpose-only license after enrolling in DUI school. If you opt for the hearing, it will be determined if the office had probable cause to arrest you for DUI. You can receive a 42-day business-purpose-only license immediately.

If you lose the hearing, you will have to wait 30 or 90 days to get another business-purpose-only license. If you win the hearing, your driver’s license could be reinstated.

If this is not your first offense, you are not eligible for a business-purpose-only license, and you must request an administrative hearing. If you do not take action during the 10-day window, you will have your driver’s license suspended for at least six months, possibly more, depending on your criminal history.

During this 10-day window, you should consult with an attorney who can assess your situation and find a way to protect your license.

DUI Probation

After a DUI conviction in Florida, there is a mandatory 12-month probation period. During this term, you must meet monthly with a probation offer and pay a monthly supervision fee. Your probation officer is responsible for monitoring your conduct and ensuring you are compliant with court decisions. If you don’t meet the conditions of your probation, your probation officer will file a violation with the court. Ways you can potentially violate your probation terms are:

  • Not staying in communication with your probation officer
  • Facing additional criminal charges
  • Neglecting to fulfill court-mandated payments for any fees
  • Not completing DUI school or alcohol treatment programs
  • Violating alcohol or drug testing protocols, or
  • Driving with a suspended license

Other Consequences You May Have to Live With

Being convicted of a DUI in Florida can affect many aspects of your life. Along with receiving jail time, fines, or a license suspension, you may receive court-mandated community service.

Along with that, you may be fired from your job. Employers may not want someone with a DUI record working for them, especially if you work on the road as a truck driver or personal driver. Being put in jail or working community service can take away from your time at work, which may put you in jeopardy. A criminal defense attorney can help you map out a future that you can depend on. Do not face a DUI charge by yourself. Turn to the experienced team of criminal defense attorneys at Ruhl & Lux, P.A for trustworthy legal representation. They serve the communities of Fort Myers, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, and the rest of the state of Florida.

Manslaughter & Wrongful Death

If you or a loved one caused the death of another person while driving under the influence, you could face not only serious criminal charges but also a wrongful death lawsuit. In the state of Florida, a manslaughter conviction can land you up to 15 years in prison, as well as hefty fines and the permanent loss of your driver’s license. If you or a member of your family has been charged with manslaughter or is facing a potentially expensive wrongful death case, reach out to Ruhl & Lux, P.A today in Port Charlotte for trustworthy legal representation.

FAQs

Q: What Is the Penalty for a First-Time DUI in Florida?

A: The consequences of a first-offense DUI can include fines from $500-$1,000, imprisonment for up to 6 months, driver’s license suspension, ignition interlock device, vehicle impoundment, mandatory monthly reporting, substance abuse courses, community service, and probation. The penalties can be increased if there are aggravating factors such as a high BAC, reckless driving, causing property damage, injury, or death.

Q: What Does Florida Consider a DUI?

A: In Florida, a DUI is operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. Even if your BAC is below this threshold, you can still be arrested and charged with DUI if law enforcement has a reasonable belief that your ability to drive was impaired due to alcohol or drugs.

Q: What Is the 10-Day Rule for DUI in Florida?

A: If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Florida, your license will be immediately suspended. For ten days after your arrest, you are allowed to drive for business purposes. Also, within those ten days, you need to request a formal review hearing from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to contest the administrative suspension of your license.

Q: How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Florida?

A: A DUI conviction will generally remain on your driving record in Florida for 75 years. A DUI is a permanent part of your driving record unless it is expunged or sealed, but that is generally not possible for DUI convictions.

Fight Your DUI Charges in Florida

Being charged with drunk driving is not only embarrassing, but it can also potentially ruin your life. Whether you have been accused of your first DUI or you have previous DUI convictions, you will benefit from a criminal defense attorney fighting for you both in and out of court. The experienced and dedicated attorneys at Ruhl & Lux, P.A are here to help you find a solution that you can be happy with. Their legal team will work non-stop to guide you through the criminal justice system and seek the outcome that you deserve.

You don’t need to go through this challenging time alone. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI in Fort Myers, Sarasota, or Port Charlotte, Florida, contact Ruhl & Lux, P.A today and schedule a simple consultation of your case.

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