Florida Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Charges and Florida´s DMV Point System
Driving a vehicle is the only means for some individuals in Florida to get from point A to point B. Not having a valid driver’s license can place a person’s life in jeopardy. Without transportation, it may be difficult to get to work, the grocery store, school, church, or anywhere else that requires driving. Public transportation may be an option for some individuals in Florida’s larger cities. However, not every Florida town or city has public transportation that reaches all residents. Because driving is a necessity for many Floridians, keeping a driver’s license is critical to keeping up with life’s daily needs.
Florida Drunk Driving Laws
Per Florida law, a person may be charged with driving under the influence if his or her blood-alcohol content (BAC) measures 0.08 or greater. Both a first and second DUI offense are considered misdemeanors under Florida law, both of which may result in jail time and hefty fines. A third DUI conviction within ten years of the prior DUI conviction is considered a third-degree felony, which may result in a jail sentence of up to five years. A fourth DUI conviction (no matter how long it has been since the prior DUI conviction) is also a third-degree felony. When an alleged DUI offense involves an accident that resulted in another person’s death, the alleged offender faces DUI manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony under Florida law. Conviction of DUI manslaughter leads to a minimum of four years in jail and a maximum of fifteen years in jail.
What is the DMV Point System in Florida?
Under Florida law, a driver can accumulate points on his or her driver’s license for being convicted of certain traffic offenses, including, among others, speeding, failing to yield, running a red light, or failing to stop at a stop sign, among others. Most traffic offenses issue three or four points on a person’s Florida driver’s license. Leaving the scene of an accident, a more serious traffic offense, results in six points being issued on a person’s Florida driver’s license. If a driver receives twelve or more points in one year, his or her Florida driver’s license will be suspended for at least thirty days. If a driver receives eighteen points within eighteen months, his or her Florida drier’s license will be suspended for at least three months. Incurring twenty-four points in thirty-six months results in the suspension of a Florida driver’s license for one year.
Having a DUI conviction does not, by itself, add points to a person’s driver’s license. Rather, points are often accumulated from conviction of other traffic offenses related to the DUI incident. To determine whether a person is operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, police officers must first have a reason to pull the person over. Typically, a driver will be speeding, forget to use a turn signal, or fail to yield to another driver who has the right of way. Conviction of any of these traffic offenses can add points to a driver’s license. Increased points equate to a blemished driving record as well as the potential for an increase in auto insurance rates.
DUI Convictions Do Not Add Points to Your Driver’s License, But You Can Lose Your License
While a DUI conviction does not add points to a person’s Florida driver’s license, a DUI conviction can lead to the suspension or revocation of a person’s Florida driver’s license, which is much worse than accumulating points. Under Florida law, a person with one DUI conviction will face suspension of his or her license for a minimum of one-hundred-eighty (180 days) to a maximum of one year. A second DUI conviction that happens within five years of the first DUI conviction results in a five-year suspension of a Florida driver’s license. Some drivers may qualify for a “hardship” driver’s license after one year of the suspension period.
A third DUI conviction that happens within a ten-year period results in a minimum ten-year suspension of a Florida driver’s license with some drivers qualifying for a hardship driver’s license after two years of the suspension period. A fourth DUI conviction or the crime of “Murder with Motor Vehicle” results in the mandatory permanent revocation of a Florida driver’s license with no possibility of qualifying for a hardship driver’s license. A DUI manslaughter conviction results in the mandatory permanent revocation of a Florida driver’s license, but if the offender has no prior DUI convictions, he or she may qualify for a hardship license after five-years of the suspension period.
The Consequences of a Florida DUI Conviction
DUI crimes are certainly not the most heinous of crimes a person can commit, but such crimes can cause harm not only to the convicted individuals but also to any victims who may have been injured or killed in a DUI accident. DUI convictions alter a person’s life forever as a convicted person develops a criminal record, is required to undergo court-mandated alcohol and drug therapy, must complete a certain number of hours of community service, and must comply with all terms of probation following a conviction.
In some cases, convicted individuals will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. Additionally, other consequences of a DUI conviction that affect a person’s way of life are the difficulties convicted individuals have with getting a job, getting accepted into a college or university, renting an apartment or home, or obtaining credit. The inability to drive certainly contributes to an already complicated and stressful situation.
Musca Law Possesses the Experience and Dedication You Need in a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer
The Florida DUI Defense Lawyers of Musca Law represent clients residing in all parts of Florida as well as some clients from outside of Florida who are facing criminal charges within the state. DUIs are commonly charged crimes throughout Florida, and all prosecutors vigorously seek conviction of every driver charged with driving under the influence, regardless of whether the facts warrant such a vigorous fight. At Musca Law, our DUI Defense Lawyers handle complex and serious DUI cases, but they also handle minor criminal offenses that may cause harm to a Florida resident’s driver’s license.
Musca Law has a reputation for providing excellent legal representation to clients, reaching results that many other law firms could not reach for their clients. By having a law firm that excels in the area of criminal defense and with offices all over the state of Florida, clients are in a good position to successfully fight DUI and other criminal charges that could cause substantial damage if the prosecution secures a conviction. Given the multitude of negative consequences associated with DUI convictions and traffic offenses that add points to a Florida driver’s license, acting quickly to speak with Musca Law is a good first step to fighting to preserve your rights if you are facing any Florida criminal charges.