According to the State Justice Department, in Florida, 61,852 arrests were stemming from driving under the influence (DUI). Given the frequent occurrence of this type of legal problem, our criminal defense team in Broward presents a few key points related to DUI in Florida.
Driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances is regulated by Florida Statute 316.193. Under Florida law, DUI is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The punishments upon conviction are equal, paying less attention to how the crime is demonstrated.
One of the penalties can include fines from $500 to over $4000, depending on the number of convictions and the blood/breath alcohol level (BAL).
For a first conviction, the defendant can also receive mandatory 50 hours of community service or an additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required and a total period of probation and incarceration that may not exceed one(1) year.
Regarding imprisonment, at the court’s discretion, sentencing terms may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program, credited toward the term of imprisonment. While for a first conviction, the penalty is usually not more than nine(9) months, depending on BAL, for a fourth or subsequent conviction, the penalty can go up to 5 years.
The vehicle is also impounded unless the family of the defendant has no other transportation: First conviction results in 10 days of impoundment, which can go up to 90 days for a third conviction within ten(10) years. Impoundment or immobilization must not happen simultaneously with imprisonment.
Regarding the release of persons arrested for DUI, the person must no longer be under the influence and have normal faculties. The person’s blood/breath alcohol level must be lower than 0.05 or eight hours must have elapsed from the time the person was arrested.
Also, there are different types of criminal convictions, as a function of the damages done in the case of an accident.
DUI misdemeanor conviction applies in the case of an accident involving property damage or personal injury and is punishable by not more than a $1,000 fine or 1-year imprisonment.
DUI felony conviction applies in the case of repeat offenders or accidents involving serious bodily injury. Any person convicted of a third DUI within ten(10) years or a fourth or subsequent DUI commits a Third Degree Felony (not more than $5,000 fine and or five(5) years imprisonment).
Any individual who causes genuine bodily harm while driving under the impact of a Third Degree Felony (not more than $5,000 fine as well as as five(5) years detainment) or if habitual/violent felony offender.
Also, the penalties for manslaughter and vehicular homicide are as follow:
Florida Statutes also include driver license revocation periods for DUI. The first conviction assumes a minimum 180 days revocation and a maximum of one(1) year, while a Fourth Conviction, Regardless of When Prior Convictions Occurred) and Murder with Motor Vehicle includes mandatory permanent revocation and no hardship reinstatement.
Other penalties might include DUI school requirements, such as, for the first conviction, DUI school completion before hardship reinstatement.
Given the seriousness of these charges and the potentially high penalties for DUI, we always recommend consulting a specialized criminal defense lawyer to receive a high-quality representation and legal defense.
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