This is the fourth in a series of six blogs, which address the consequences first-time DUI offenders face in the state of Florida. The fifth part of this series will discuss probation for first-time DUI offenders.

First-time driving under the influence (DUI) offenders in Florida have legal options available to them when facing their conviction. While a repeat DUI offender may face mandatory jail time, a first-time offender can negotiate for alternative sentencing instead. Penalties that first-time offenders face upon conviction include DUI school and community service.

DUI School

Florida DUI programs are run by private non-profit organizations that educate drivers who have been convicted of driving under the influence. They will conduct psychosocial evaluations, educate participants on the dangers of drunk driving, and offer treatment referral services to DUI offenders. There are two levels of educational services offered at Florida DUI schools. First-time offenders will face a minimum of 12 hours of classroom instruction involving interactive educational techniques. Repeat offenders will face at least 21 hours of classroom time. While first-time offenders can sometimes take classes in lieu of treatment, repeat offenders will commonly be required to take classes in addition to receiving treatment.

Community Service

A guilty or no contest plea for DUI in Florida will result in mandatory community service hours. First-time offenders will face 50 hours of service. It is at the discretion of the court to determine when a defendant can buy out his or her service for $10 per hour. In other words, some drivers may be able to avoid 50 hours of community service by paying $500.

Experienced Florida DUI Defense

It is not always in the best interest of a driver to accept a plea deal or to negotiate for reduced penalties. The knowledgeable DUI defense lawyers in Tampa at Musca Law help Florida residents understand their legal rights and options. We provide free case evaluations at (888) 484-5057 to anyone facing DUI charges in Florida.