In Florida, the average fine for a first time DUI offense runs somewhere between $250 and $500 depending on the circumstances. For many people, this doesn't sound too bad. Only $250 if caught being over the legal limit while driving? The fine doesn't come close to the pain of losing your license or the embarrassment of arrest. However, when you assign a value to all the aspects of the charge including a defense, paying the fines, the auto insurance increase and everything else, the actual cost of your first DUI shoots up to somewhere around $8000.
Looking at all the penalties for a first time DUI offense may be intimidating, but they only get worse as you go. For every subsequent offense including the fines, time suspended and time behind bars gets progressively higher and longer than the first offense. In Florida, a first timer can face 50 hours of community service, six months in jail, 12 hours of DUI schooling and 180 days of revocation. All of these orders are in addition to the original fine of $250 to $500.
With a second DUI conviction, the fines jump to somewhere between $1000 and $2000. The time behind bars also increases to a possible nine months. If your second DUI is within the five-year window of your first, you may face a devastating five years without your license.
These penalties are considered for non-repeat offenders. However, after your first two DUI convictions, subsequent convictions deem you a repeat offender and carry serious consequences. Not only could you be facing felony charges depending on the circumstances of the arrest, but your time behind bars and fines are substantial.
If the actual cost of a first time DUI conviction can be $8000, then it stands to reason that the second and third convictions can carry an actual cost in the tens of thousands. The best way to avoid these penalties is not to drink and drive. However, if you find yourself charged with a DUI, the best way to limit the financial damage of a DUI charge is to find a skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney to fight for you.