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What is a DUI in Florida?

In the State of Florida, the official term for drunk or drugged driving is Driving Under the Influence (DUI). DUI's are considered as criminal traffic offenses and are under the purview of the traffic courts in the Florida Judiciary. The County Courts serve as the traffic courts and have exclusive jurisdiction over DUI offenses that occur within the state.

What happens when you get a DUI for the First Time in Florida?

In Florida, DUIs are serious offenses that attract harsh administrative and criminal penalties. Therefore, first-time offenders may find themselves fined, jailed, have their driver licenses suspended, vehicle impounded, or consigned to community work and probation. An individual who wants to contest a DUI is advised to hire an experienced attorney to assist with getting the charges reduced or in some cases, dismissed. Especially if it is the first offense and there were no destroyed properties, injuries, or deaths.

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Florida?

It is very likely that an individual will be subject to a term of imprisonment for a DUI in Florida. According to Florida DUI laws, the jail time for a first conviction can be less than 6 months or 9 months, but not more than this.

What are the Typical Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Florida?

The penalty assessed for a DUI depends on the severity of the offense, the period of time between offenses, and whether it is the individual's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or subsequent offense.

An individual who is convicted of a DUI for the first time in Florida is subject to penalties under §316.193 of Florida Statutes. Under this law, a first offender is penalized with a fine, not less than $500 and not over $1000, and jail time for not more than 6 months.

If at the time of the violation, the offender's blood/breath alcohol level was 0.15 or higher or had a minor in the vehicle, the court may punish the offender by:

  • A fine, not less than $1000 and not over $2000
  • Imprisonment that does not exceed 9 months

The court may order the offender's vehicle impounded for no less than 6 months at the expense of the offender. Also, the offender may be subject to a minimum of 50 hours of community service, 1-year probation or less, and a fine of $10 per hour for community service.

2nd offenders may be punished with:

  • A fine between $1000 and $2000
  • Not more than 9 months of jail time
  • Vehicle impoundment for at least a year
  • A fine between $2000 and $4000, and imprisonment that doesn't surpass a year (for blood/breath alcohol levels 0.15 and higher, and if there was a minor present in the vehicle at the time of offense)
  • Imprisonment for not less than 10 days and vehicle impoundment for 30 days (for second offenses that occur within 5 years after the date of a former conviction)

3rd convictions are considered as felonies of the third degree and are punishable by:

  • Sections 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084 of Florida Statutes
  • Vehicle impoundment for at least 2 years
  • A fine less than $2000 but not more than $5000
  • Jail time under 1 year
  • A fine over $4000 (for blood/breath alcohol levels 0.15 and higher, and if there was a minor present in the vehicle at the time of offense)
  • Jail time not less than 30 days (for convictions occurring 10 years after a prior conviction date)

Regardless of if it is the individual's first offense, if the DUI involved the death or serious bodily injury of another party, the offender may be convicted of a felony in the first, second, or third-degree under Sections 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084. More information on DUI penalties can be obtained on §316.193 of Florida Statutes.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Florida?

According to Florida laws, a DUI conviction stays on an individual's driving record for 75 years and on an individual's criminal history indefinitely. The law does not provide conditions whereby DUI conviction records can be sealed or expunged.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Florida?

DUI checkpoints, also known as sobriety checkpoints, are legal in Florida. These checkpoints are used by law enforcement to identify drivers exhibiting signs of impairment or intoxication. Law enforcement officers in the state are required to follow certain rules covered by the federal constitution. Under this rule, officers have the right to stop motorists but must have a legitimate reason or probable cause to do so. An officer may also conduct a sobriety test under suspicion of a driver's intoxication. These checks occur several times in a month in the state.

What is an Aggravated DUI in Florida?

Under §316.193 (4), an offense is considered an aggravated DUI when, at the time of the violation, the individual either has a child present in the vehicle, has a blood alcohol level 0.15 or over, or it results in the bodily harm or death of another individual.

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