If you've been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, you may not know what to expect. The experience can certainly be terrifying and alarming. However, by understanding a little of what you might be able to expect, you can better prepare to fight the charge.
Florida law tends to be quite stringent in its punishment of DUI offenders; however, the 1st offense usually comes with the least amount of penalty. The law gives you the benefit of the doubt by assuming the 1st offense will also be the last one, as you may have made a mistake.
If you are over the age of 21 and are not a commercial motor vehicle driver, you can't have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. Those who are arrested with a BAC this high will face administrative penalties as well as criminal penalties. Administrative penalties include license suspension for at least 6 months, although you might be able to apply for a hardship license.
Likewise, criminal penalties can include any of the following:
- Jail time
- Community service
- Ignition interlock device (IID) installation
- Vehicle impoundment
The amount of each will depend on the circumstances of your DUI. While Florida judges are required to sentence 1st-time offenders to probation, if you have a standard DUI, you might be sentenced to an additional 6 months of jail time as well. The probation and jail time combined, however, can't exceed 1 year. Likewise, as a condition of probation, the judge must order you to complete at least 50 hours of community service. Additionally, a standard 1st-offense DUI could lead to a penalty ranging from $500 to $1,000.
The penalties will go up from there, however. If your BAC was 0.15% or higher, your fines would be raised to anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000. IIDs are also not required unless you had a BAC of 0.15% or higher or were carrying a passenger who was under 18 years of age. (Although, a judge may still impose an IID on you at his or her discretion).
Your jail time will also increase based on your BAC, whether or not you had a minor in the car, and if you were involved in an accident that led to property damage, minor injuries, or serious bodily harm. You would receive 9 months of jail time for a high BAC and carrying a passenger under 18 years of age, 1 year for property damage and minor injuries, and 5 years for causing serious bodily harm.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, make sure you hire an experienced Florida DUI attorney who can help defend you from the charge. Our skilled lawyers at Musca Law have more than 150 years of combined legal experience to offer your case. We have helped many people beat their DUI charges in the past, and we are known for our tenacious and aggressive advocacy. Likewise, our lawyers are proud to provide you with excellent personal service that includes providing you with important information regarding the status of your case. Let us see how we can help you.
Contact us at (888) 484-5057 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.