DUI & Criminal Division

Driving Under the Influence: The Basics of Florida DUI Charges

January 27, 2023

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Drinking alcohol is legal if you are over the age 21, but drunk driving isn’t. Prescription drugs are legal if prescribed by your doctor, but driving under the influence of them and it impairs your normal faculties is not.

Have you been charged with a DUI in Florida? The Ticket Clinic may help you get back on the road. Many of our DUI defense lawyers are former Assistant State Attorneys or former Assistant Public Defenders, meaning they have training in DUI and criminal trial procedure that sets them apart.

Our team of Florida DUI attorneys are here to put their experience to work for you. Let us break down everything you need to know about driving under the influence.

What Exactly Is Driving Under the Influence?

While most people only associate DUI charges with alcohol, Florida prohibits both drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs while impaired. This means that someone can be arrested and charged with a DUI if they are under the influence of any substance or combination of substances that impair their ability to drive.

In fact, many illegal or prescription drug DUI charges can apply even when someone has a prescription from their doctor. However, a person can also face drug possession charges if they do not have a valid prescription.

How Do You Prove Someone Was Driving Under the Influence?

In order to prove a person was driving under the influence in Florida, the following two elements need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

– The person drove or was in physical control of the vehicle.
– The person was under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, a chemical substance, or a combination of the aforementioned to the point of impairment of normal faculties.

If someone had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, they are automatically presumed to be impaired by alcohol. This is proven by showing that:

– The person drove the vehicle.
– The driver’s BAC was 0.08% or greater while driving.

The legal BAC can differ depending on the age and type of driver; the legal limit is 0.04% for commercial drivers, and 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21. If either group is found to be over those BAC limits, their driver’s license will be suspended.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Florida?

The more DUI’s you receive, the worse the penalties become. Some of the consequences DUI offenders may face include:

First DUI Conviction in Florida

Community service: Mandatory minimum 50 hours
Driver’s license revocation or suspension: 180 days to 1 year
Driver’s license reinstatement fee
DUI program
Fines: $500 to $1,000 plus court costs:
If the driver had a minor in the car, or their BAC was 0.15% or higher, the fine is between $1,000 to $2,000.
Ignition interlock device
Increased insurance premiums and coverages
Jail time: Maximum 6 months
If the BAC was 0.15% or higher, jail time is maximum 9 months.
Probation: Maximum 1 year
Vehicle impoundment: 10 days

Second DUI Conviction in Florida

– Driver’s license revocation or suspension:
Not within 5 years: 180 days to 1 year Within 5 years: 5 year
– Driver’s license reinstatement fee
– DUI program (level 2)
– Fines of $1,000 to $2,000 plus court costs:

If the driver had a minor in the car, or their BAC was 0.15% or higher, the fine is between $2,000 to $4,000.

– Increased insurance premiums and coverages
– Jail time: Maximum 9 months

If the BAC was 0.15% or higher, jail time is maximum 12 months.

– Mandatory ignition interlock device
– Vehicle impoundment: 30 days

Third DUI Conviction in Florida

– Driver’s license revocation or suspension:
Not within 10 years: 180 days to 1 year
2nd and 3rd offenses within 10 years: 10 years
– Possible felony charge
– Driver’s license reinstatement fee
– DUI program (advanced)
– Fines of $2,000 to $5,000

If the driver had a minor in the car, or their BAC was 0.15% or higher, the minimum fine is $4,000.

– Increased insurance premiums and coverages
– Jail time: Mandatory 30 days

Maximum jail time could be 1 year for misdemeanor, 5 years for a felony.

– Mandatory ignition interlock device
– Vehicle impoundment: 90 days

What Are the DUI Penalties for Florida Drivers Under 21 Years Old?

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will issue an automatic administrative suspension of six months to drivers under 21 years old with a BAC of 0.02% or higher. If the driver refuses to take a BAC test, they will lose their license for:

– First offense refusing to take BAC test: 1 year
– Second offense refusing to take BAC test: 18 months

Do I Need a Florida DUI Attorney?

While you could try to navigate the legalities of your DUI charge alone, why would you want to? DUI convictions in Florida come with serious penalties; the last thing you want to do is leave your future up to chance. Here at The Ticket Clinic, we refuse to let that happen.
Our Florida DUI lawyers will work tirelessly to make sure your case has the best possible outcome. Get started on moving past your DUI charge and call us toll-free at 800-625-5235 to schedule a free consultation.

Rolando A. Sanchez, Esq.

Originally from Miami , grew up in Central Florida.  After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he worked on F-15E fighter jets as an Avionics Technician.  He was Honorably Discharged. Afterwards, he attended University of Central Florida and received a BSBA Finance Degree, cum laude.  Next, he attended Barry University for law school and among other things, served as V.P. of the Veterans Legal Society.  Since graduating in 2016, Mr. Sanchez has dedicated his career to helping those charged with criminal matters.  These cases include traffic, misdemeanors and felonies, including trials and post-conviction relief. Mr. Sanchez is the lead attorney in Ticket Clinic’s Kissimmee office, handling cases in Osceola, Polk, Hardee and Desoto Counties.