Drunk driving penalties in Florida

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Knowing a bit about the DUI laws and penalties before an arrest happens can be helpful for drivers who are involved in such situations.

With the holiday season in full swing, much press is given to crackdowns on drunk driving. While certainly it is important to keep people safe from automobile accidents it is equally important that innocent and responsible citizens are not unfairly judged. It is easier than many may think to be arrested for impaired driving in Florida.

An understanding of the laws and associated penalties can be helpful for people who may find themselves in such situations. With long-lasting consequences, including felony convictions for people with three or more offenses as noted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the need for help when facing drunk driving charges is clear.

What is considered intoxicated?

According to the Florida state legislature website, any person found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath is deemed to be intoxicated. The different penalties for an impaired driving offense can include jail time and fines.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles outlines some of the different consequences a convicted driver may face:

  • A person convicted of a first offense with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.14 percent can be fined between $500 and $1,000 and spend up to six months in jail. If the BAC is 0.15 percent or greater, the fine will be between $1,000 and $2,000 and jail time can increase to nine months.
  • A person convicted of a second offense with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.14 percent can be fined between $1,000 and $2,000 and spend up to nine months in jail. If the BAC is 0.15 percent or greater, the fine will be between $2,000 and $4,000 and jail time can increase to 12 months.
  • A person convicted of a third offense can be fined between $2,000 and $5,000 if the BAC is between 0.08 and 0.14 percent or a minimum of $4,000 for BAC levels of 0.15 percent or greater. Jail time minimums and maximums can vary depending upon when the prior convictions occurred.
  • A person convicted of a fourth offense will generally pay at least $2,000 and can spend up to five years in prison.

The state legislature also outlines that any conviction that is associated with an accident in which another person was injured can be a third degree felony. If death results for another party, the offense is considered to be either a first or second degree felony.

Defendants deserve help

There can be many nuances that affect a drunk driving arrest. People charged with these offenses should always seek help from an experienced attorney.

Keywords: drunk driving, arrest, charges