Drunk driving or driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense and can result in serious consequences if found guilty in a court of lawn.
Drunk driving is commonly referred to as DUI or DWI. Though the terms DUI and DWI have different meanings in certain states, in the state of Florida, they are interchangeably used and have the same meaning. DUI means driving under the influence and DWI means driving while impaired.
Briefly, as per Florida law, a person with a blood or breath alcohol content of 0.8% or more can be charged with DUI. If the person is a commercial driver, the BAC limit is 0.4% and for people under age 21, the BAC limit is 0.2%. Even without a breath or blood test, if the evidence shows a person’s normal faculties were impaired, a DUI charge may result.
Florida has very strict DUI laws and the penalties become more severe for repeat offenders.
A first time conviction may result in sentences up to: 6 – 9 months in jail, 6 months to 1 year probation, vehicle impoundment for up to 10 days, fine of $500 – $1000, 6 -12 months of driver’s license suspension and 50 hours of community service. The offender may also be directed by the court to complete DUI School, and follow up treatment.
A second conviction can result in 9 – 12 months’ jail sentence, vehicle impoundment for up to 30 days, fines between $1000 and $2000, and DUI School. The sentence becomes more severe if the second conviction happens within 5 years of the first, resulting in 10 days mandatory imprisonment and a minimum driver license suspension of 5 years. A hardship reinstatement may be issued after 1 year, if found eligible.
A third conviction, within 10 years, may result in up to 12 months of jail, including 30 days mandatory jail sentence out of which 48 hours has to be consecutive, vehicle being impounded for 90 days, fines between $2000 and $5000, minimum driver’s license suspension of 10 years, and if eligible hardship reinstatement will may be issued after 2 years.
A fourth conviction may be a felony, and is also results in a finding of the habitual offender and can result in up to 5 years in jail and license can be revoked permanently without any possibility of hardship reinstatement.