Being arrested for a DUI can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience, especially if it is your first brush with the law. Many individuals often assume an arrest means they are doomed to a conviction and the resulting penalties, but this is not the case. Many mistakes can be made in the process of an arrest, which is why it is crucial to retain effective legal representation as soon as possible. It is also important to understand what is at stake in such cases.
The Costs of a Drunk Driving Conviction
All states generally have some form of “implied consent law,” which means you must comply with a blood, urine, or breath test. Refusing these tests will result in an immediate license suspension for 1 year. A second refusal can result in an 18-month suspension.
Zero Tolerance Laws
If you are under the age of 21, Florida has a Zero Tolerance law, making the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit under .02 unlike the standard .08. This essentially means underage drivers are not allowed to have even 1 drink, or they will be over the legal limit. Having a BAC of .02 or higher will result in a 6-month license suspension.
First-Time Conviction Penalties
For individuals over the age of 21 who are convicted of a DUI, the penalties can be quite steep, including:
- A fine between $250 and $500
- About 50 hours of community service
- Probation that shall not last more than 1 year
- Imprisonment that shall not last more than 6 months
- If a minor is in the car, a driver convicted of a DUI can face up to 9 months of imprisonment
- License revocation which lasts a minimum of 180 days
- 12 hours of DUI School
Subsequent convictions that occur within 5 years of a first conviction will result in higher penalties. These penalties include higher fines, which are between $1,000 and $2,000, jail time that can last up to 9 months or a year if a minor was in the vehicle, and a 5-year license suspension. You will likely also be required to install an ignition interlock device for a minimum of 1 year and complete substance abuse evaluation and DUI School. Even if the second conviction happens outside of this 5-year mark, the penalties remain higher than that of a first-time conviction.
With each subsequent DUI convictions, the penalties become more severe. However, a fourth DUI charge will become a misdemeanor. Penalties associated with a fourth conviction include:
- A fine between $1,000 and $2,000 or up to $5,000 if a minor is in the vehicle
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Permanent license revocation
- An ignition interlock device installed for at least 2 years
- Completion of both DUI School and substance abuse evaluation and treatment
It is important to note that if you are also involved in an accident, which results in any injuries or death, the repercussions and penalties can impact your life in irreversible ways.
Orlando DUI Criminal Defense Attorney
At The Wiseman Law Firm, we have assisted countless clients in defending charges related to drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs, and other DUI-related charges. Regardless of how incriminating you think the evidence against you is, there are ways to effectively fight your charges. We will personally walk you through the process, including DMV hearings, and do whatever it takes to protect your driving record and future.
From thoroughly investigating the details of your DUI stop and questioning the validity of all chemical tests, to guiding you through administrative suspension hearings, we will work aggressively and efficiently to resolve your charges in the best possible manner.
Contact us today at (407) 708-9127 to schedule a consultation.