Florida First DUI Offense
Under Florida law, driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as a person driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances that impair the normal faculties of that person. In addition, that person must have a blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams, otherwise known as a .08 BAC. The penalties for a DUI in Florida vary depending on whether it is the first offense or subsequent offense, as well as based on the level of BAC.
First DUI Offense Penalties
A first offense DUI in Florida is considered a misdemeanor crime. Florida has instituted mandatory penalties for a DUI conviction, as well as potential discretionary penalties. Mandatory penalties include fines, community service, imprisonment, probation, license revocation, and DUI School. Other penalties for a first time offense include impounding a vehicle and an ignition interlock device.
A first offense DUI is considered enhanced if the BAC of the driver is over 0.15 or if there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest. In addition to the penalties imposed by a normal first offense DUI, an enhanced DUI comes with higher fines and longer jail sentences.
First Offense Fines
For a first offense DUI, a fine between $500 and $1,000 will be imposed by the court. For an enhanced DUI, the fines are increased to between $1,000 and $2,000.
First Offense Community Service
A minimum of 50 hours of community service is mandated for a first time DUI offense. If the requirement of community service creates an undue hardship, the court will allow an additional fine of $10 per hour to be imposed in exchange for the community service work.
First Offense Imprisonment
A first offense for DUI comes with a jail sentence of up to six months. For a first time enhanced DUI, the court can impose a jail sentence of up to nine months.
First Offense Probation
The court imposes a mandatory condition of probation for up to one year after the DUI conviction. While on probation, an offender must pay for the costs, check in regularly with a probation officer, and possibly engage in other mandatory activities like drug and alcohol counseling. It is during this time that community service and DUI School are also completed.
First Offense License Revocation
For a first offense DUI, the driver’s license is suspended for a minimum of 180 days, and it can be revoked for up to one year. A first time offender is not allowed to be relicensed by the state of Florida until the DUI School is completed.
First Offense DUI School
Twelve hours of Level I DUI School is required for a first time DUI offender. Level I DUI School includes instruction, lectures, video, and discussion. In addition, a psychosocial evaluation is taken to determine whether or not additional treatment is necessary.
First Offense Discretionary Penalties
Discretionary penalties can be in addition to the mandatory punishments for a first time DUI. The court can order that the vehicle used can be impounded for up to ten days and cannot be impounded at the same time as the offender’s incarceration. Additionally, the court can order an ignition interlock device to be installed in the vehicle for up to six consecutive months. This device requires the driver to breathe into it and checks the driver’s BAC before the car will start.
Contact a Miami DUI Attorney for Help
Even the first DUI offense can come with significant consequences and substantial punishment. If you or a loved one has been charged with their first DUI in Miami or the greater Florida area, let The Law Office of Julia Kefalinos help. Call or contact the office today for a confidential review of your case. We will help you and protect your rights through the entirety of the process.