This is the second in a series of six blogs addressing the consequences first-time driving under the influence (DUI) offenders face in the state of Florida. The third part of this series will discuss vehicle impound and license suspension issues that can stem from a first-time DUI offense.

Facing Jail Time

In Florida, it is at the court’s discretion to use jail time as a punishment for drunk driving. Even first-time offenders in Florida are likely to face jail time if they are found guilty of operating a vehicle while having a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. A first-time conviction can result in a sentence of up to six months if the blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or higher and up to nine months if the BAC is .15 percent or higher.

Driving drunk with a minor in the car can result in a nine-month jail sentence as well. A second conviction could result in a mandatory sentence of 10 days and a potential sentence of up to 12 months. A third conviction carries a mandatory jail sentence of up to 12 months.

Potential Fines

Fines increase with each conviction as well. A first-time conviction could result in a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000. Individuals with a BAC of .15 or higher or who drove with a minor in the vehicle are likely to face a fine between $1,000 and $2,000. A second conviction could result in fines of up to $2,000 and a third conviction can result in a $5,000 fine.

DUI Defense

In addition to these costs, drivers convicted of a DUI also face additional hassles and expenses such as attorney fees, court costs, mandatory alcohol counseling programs, insurance rate hikes, and potential job loss. The skilled Florida DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law know how to have penalties reduced for first-time offenders. If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Florida, please call our offices right away at (888) 484-5057 to get the help you need.