Driving under the influence (DUI) is against the law in every state, but the penalties that you can face for a DUI conviction vary from state-to-state. Unfortunately, Florida is known for having some of the toughest DUI laws in the entire country.
Every driver in this state should understand what penalties they will face if they are convicted of DUI. What factors will affect the penalties imposed on DUI offenders? How can a Tampa criminal defense attorney help you avoid a conviction or minimize the penalties you face if convicted? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.
What Factors Will Impact Penalties Imposed on DUI Offenders in Tampa?
If you are charged with DUI, it can be difficult to determine what penalties you could face in the event you are convicted. This is because a number of factors impact the penalties that are imposed on DUI offenders in Florida, including:
- The defendant’s DUI history
- The defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of their arrest
- The nature of the crime
Because the laws governing DUI penalties are so complex, it’s best to discuss your case with an attorney to learn more about your charges.
What Are the Penalties For Your First DUI Offense?
Don’t assume that you will not face serious consequences for a DUI conviction simply because you are a first-time offender.
In Florida, the consequences are severe even for first-time offenders.
If you are convicted of DUI for the first time, you could face:
- Up to six months in jail
- Between $500 to $1000 in fines
- 10 day impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle
- Driver’s license revocation period of six months to one year
The penalties are even more serious for certain first-time offenders. For example, if your BAC was 0.15 or higher or there was a minor in your vehicle at the time of your arrest, you could be ordered to pay up to $2,000 in fines. Furthermore, you could be sentenced to up to nine months in jail.
What Are the Penalties For Your Second DUI Offense?
There’s no doubt that the penalties for a first DUI offense are serious, but they are even more severe for offenders who are convicted of DUI for the second time.
Second-time DUI offenders can face various penalties, including:
- Between $1,000 and $2,000 in fines
- Up to nine months in jail
- Impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle for 30 days if the second conviction occurred within five years of the first conviction
- Driver’s license revocation for a period of five years if your second conviction occurred within five years of the first conviction.
Similar to first-time offenders, second-time DUI offenders can face more severe consequences if their BAC level was 0.15 or there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of their arrest. In these cases, the penalties can include imprisonment for up to one year and fines of up to $4,000.
In addition, if your second DUI conviction occurred within five years of your first conviction, you will face mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days.
What Are the Penalties For Your Third DUI Offense?
The penalties you will face for your third DUI offense will vary depending on when you were convicted of your second DUI offense. If your third DUI conviction occurs within 10 years from the second DUI conviction, you could face:
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle for 90 days
- Driver’s license revocation for at least 10 years
If your third DUI conviction occurs 10 or more years after your second offense, the penalties you could face include:
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Imprisonment for up to one year
- Driver’s license revocation for between six months to one year
Just like other DUI offenses, the penalties increase for third-time offenders who were driving with a minor or who had a BAC of 0.15 or higher at the time of their arrest.
What Are the Penalties For Your Fourth or Subsequent DUI Offense?
Fourth or subsequent DUI offenses that occur within 10 years of a prior conviction are third degree felonies in the state of Florida. If you are convicted of your fourth or subsequent DUI within 10 years of a prior conviction, the penalties you could face include:
- Imprisonment for up to five years
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Mandatory permanent revocation of your driving privileges, regardless of when your prior convictions occurred
What Are the Penalties For DUI With Injury?
The court can impose additional penalties on DUI offenders who injured or killed someone while driving intoxicated. If you cause property damage or bodily injury while driving under the influence, you will face misdemeanor charges that are punishable by up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. If the victim suffers serious bodily injuries, however, the crime becomes a felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
If you kill someone while driving under the influence, you will be charged with DUI manslaughter. This is a second degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Furthermore, if you are convicted of DUI manslaughter, your driver’s license could be permanently revoked.
Schedule A Free Consultation With An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are charged with DUI in Tampa, it’s imperative to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Turn to the trusted DUI defense attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett, who have over 125 years of combined legal experience. Since 1971, we have been dedicated to helping the accused in the greater Tampa Bay area protect their rights and fight for their freedom. We know what it takes to win—let us prove it to you.
Call our law firm now to schedule a free consultation regarding your DUI case.