Earlier this month a Pennsylvania college student was charged with Homicide by Vehicle while driving under the influence when a fatal car crash took the life of his friend. However, the 22 year old student's blood alcohol level was just .089%, only slightly over the legal limit of .08%.
Florida DUI penalties
Under Florida law, despite the low BAL, the student mentioned above would potentially be facing a second degree felony, a $10,000 fine and 15 yea rs imprisonment. Of course, not all cases are that extreme, but the consequences for DUI are serious even if it is your first offense.
Here is a list of possible consequences stemming from a DUI conviction:
- Fines. Fines range depending on the number of offenses and the BAL at the time of arrest. The minimum fine for a first offense and a low BAL is $500. Conversely, for a third offense (within 10 years from the second offense) and a BAL of .15 or more, the minimum fine is $4000.
- Community Service. Fifty hours of mandatory community service are required after a first DUI conviction.
- Imprisonment. Jail time ranges depending on the number of offenses and the level of the BAL at the time of the arrest. The more DUI convictions and the higher the BAL, the more time spent in jail.
- Treatment programs. A court may require offenders to participate in a residential treatment program in lieu of imprisonment.
- Impoundment of vehicle. Absent special circumstances, the car will be impounded after a DUI conviction. The duration of the impoundment depends on the number of DUI convictions.
- Suspension of driver's license. Once convicted of DUI, the offender's driver's license will be suspended for a period of time.
- Probation. Once convicted, most offenders will be on probation. The length of probation also depends on the number of past offenses.
Due to both direct and indirect consequences DUI offenders face, it's important to aggressively defend DUI charges and seek out the help of a DUI attorney who knows the law. Even if this is your first DUI offense, you are facing fines, community service, possible imprisonment or treatment, loss of your vehicle, loss of your driver's license and probation. You also will have a criminal record, which may affect your ability to find employment in the future.