DUI - Different Sanctions for DUI

Tampa Lawyer Helping Drivers Fight DUI Charges

Driving under the influence is taken seriously in Florida. You can get a DUI if you are in physical control of a car or another vehicle and have a blood alcohol concentration of at least .08%. This is considered a per se DUI. However, you can also be convicted of a DUI if you are impaired to some degree due to consuming alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. In fact, you can even get a DUI without moving your vehicle. At Hanlon Law, Tampa DUI lawyer Will Hanlon understands the different sanctions that you may face if you are charged with a DUI. He believes strongly in the rights of the accused and provides tough, aggressive defenses for his clients.

Different Sanctions for DUIs

If you are convicted of a first-offense DUI in Florida, you may face jail time, fines of at least $500 and as much as $1,000, the suspension of your license, the impoundment of your car or other vehicle, and the installation of an ignition interlock device. A first conviction results in a mandatory 50 hours of community service. The court has the discretion to sentence you to time in a residential drug abuse or alcoholism treatment program, which can be credited toward a term of imprisonment.

Generally, it is no more than six months of jail, assuming that your BAC is less than .15%, and there was no minor in the car. However, if you have a BAC of .15% or more, or there was a minor in the car, you may face up to nine months’ imprisonment and a fine of $1,000-$2,000. You can be charged with a third-degree felony if you caused an injury to someone by drinking and driving.

The sanctions are more serious if you accumulate additional convictions. For the purpose of deciding whether the next DUI is punished as a second, third, or fourth offense, the court considers a specific look-back period. When trying to decide the minimum jail time to impose for later DUI convictions, the court uses a five-year or 10-year look-back period.

Most second-offense DUIs are charged as misdemeanors. However, if the DUI resulted in an accident in which someone suffered a serious bodily injury, it can be charged as a third-degree felony. Assuming that your prior conviction was within the last five years, the court will impose a minimum 10-day jail sentence, but the maximum jail time varies based on the circumstances. For example, the maximum jail term for a second DUI is nine months, but it is a one-year term for a second DUI involving either a minor passenger or a BAC of .15% or more. The jail time is five years if you are convicted of a DUI involving a serious injury.

A third DUI offense is a DUI that is the third offense within a 10-year look-back period. It is a third-degree felony. You can face a more serious sentence even if your earlier convictions were received in another state. In Florida, you can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and a mandatory minimum term of 30 days in jail. You may be fined $2,000-$5,000 and have your license revoked for least 10 years. You may also face a requirement that you install an ignition interlock device for two years after being eligible to have a driver's license and have your vehicle impounded for 90 days.

If you are convicted of a fourth DUI, you may be designated a habitual or violent felony offender. This is a very serious conviction and a third-degree felony. Once you receive a classification as a habitual felony offender, an extended term of imprisonment may apply to you. For example, if you are convicted of a felony of the third degree, you are sentenced to up to 10 years. However, if you are a habitual felony offender convicted of a felony of the third degree, you face a prison term of 10 years, but you are not eligible for release for five years. You also face a minimum of $2,000 in fines, as well as other sanctions, such as the impoundment of your car and a driver's license revocation.

Contact an Experienced Drunk Driving Lawyer in the Tampa Bay Region

If you are accused of a DUI, you should be aware that there are different sanctions for DUIs that may apply to your case. It is important to take these charges seriously right from the start. Some people make the mistake of simply pleading guilty to their first DUI, but the sanctions are increasingly harsh if you are convicted of any DUIs in the future. Our founder, Tampa attorney Will Hanlon, has provided a strong, aggressive defense to people charged with DUIs since 1994. He provides responsive and personalized representation to the accused. Call Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or use our online form if you need a drunk driving or reckless driving lawyer.