DUI Defense

West Palm Beach DUI Lawyer – Florida DUI Lawyer

Administrative Driver’s License Considerations – Immediate Action Required

When you are arrested for a DUI in Florida, the officer confiscates your driver’s license. You will be given a traffic DUI citation and notice by the officer – this paper will serve as your license to drive for a period of only 10 days. Within that 10-day time period, you must act to request that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles set an Administrative Review Hearing on your case or else your license will automatically be suspended for a minimum of 30 days, or longer, depending on the nature of the DUI charge you are facing. Because of this very limited time period, you must act immediately to contact a DUI defense attorney after your DUI arrest.  Contact Nellie L. King, P.A. at 561-833-1084, available 24 hours a day, or fill out a form on the side of this page to schedule your free initial consultation.

DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcoholic Beverages, Chemical Substances or Controlled Substances) – Florida Statutes Section 316.193

Under Florida law, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) may be proven by impairment of normal faculties or an unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. Most DUI arrests are for alcohol, but you could also be arrested if you tested positive for marijuana, cocaine, or other illegal drugs, as well as certain cough medications and prescription medications if used to excess.

The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven. Florida treats DUI as a serious offense, with severe jail time applicable in some circumstances, as well as hefty fines, ignition interlock, and license reinstatement requirements. Details about DUI penalties and license issues are as follows:

Fine Schedule  – Florida Statutes Section 316.193(2)(a)-(b)

  • First Conviction: Not less than $500, or more than $1,000. With Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.
  • Second Conviction: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $2,000, or more than $4,000.
  • Third Conviction More than 10 Years from Second: Not less than $2,000, or more than $5,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $4,000.
  • Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not less than $ 2,000.

Community Service – Florida Statutes Section 316.193 (6)(a)

First Conviction: Mandatory 50 hours of community service or additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.

Probation – Florida Statutes Section 316.193 (5)(6).

First conviction, total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year.

Imprisonment- Florida Statutes Section 316.193 (2)(a) 2, 4(b), (6)(j)

At the court’s discretion, sentencing terms may be served in a residential alcohol or drug abuse treatment program, credited toward the term of imprisonment.

  • First Conviction: Not more than 6 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 9 months.
  • Second Conviction: Not more than 9 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 12 months. If second conviction within 5 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days in jail. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.
  • Third Conviction: If third conviction within 10 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive. If third conviction more than 10 years from the second, imprisonment for not more than 12 months.
  • Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not more than 5 years or as provided in s.775.084, Florida Statutes, as habitual/violent offender.

Impoundment or Immobilization of Vehicle – Florida Statutes Section 316.193 (6)

In Florida, unless the family of the defendant has no other transportation, the court must enter an order impounding your vehicle. The length of immobilization varies dependent on the offense: First conviction = 10 days; second conviction within 5 years = 30 days; third conviction within 10 years = 90 days. Impoundment or immobilization must not occur concurrently with incarceration. The court may dismiss the order of impoundment of any vehicles that are owned by the defendant if they are operated solely by the employees of the defendant or any business owned by the defendant.

Conditions for Release of Persons Arrested for DUI – Florida Statutes Section 316.193 (9)

Someone charged with DUI will not be realsed from jail unless:

  • The person is no longer under the influence and;
  • The person’s normal faculties are no longer impaired
  • The person’s blood/breath alcohol level is lower than 0.05; or
  • Eight hours have elapsed from the time the person was arrested

DUI Misdemeanor Conviction: (Accident Involving Property Damage or Personal Injury) – Florida Statutes Section 316.193 (3)

Any person who causes property damage or personal injury to another while driving under the influence is guilty of a First Degree Misdemeanor (not more than $1,000 fine or 1-year imprisonment).

DUI Felony Conviction: (Repeat Offenders or Accidents Involving Serious Bodily Injury) – Florida Statutes Section 316.193 (2),(3)

  • Any person convicted of a third DUI within 10 years or a fourth or subsequent DUI commits a Third Degree Felony (not more than $5,000 fine and/or 5 years imprisonment)
  • Any person who causes serious bodily injury while driving under the influence is guilty of a Third Degree Felony (not more than $5,000 fine and/or 5 years imprisonment) or if habitual/violent felony offender as provided in Florida Statutes Section 775.084

Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide – Florida Statutes Section 316.193 (3)

  • DUI/Manslaughter: Second Degree Felony (not more than $10,000 fine and/or 15 years imprisonment)
  • DUI Manslaughter/Leaving the Scene: A driver convicted of DUI Manslaughter who knew/should have known accident occurred; and failed to give information or render aid is guilty of a First Degree Felony (not more than $10,000 fine and/or 30 years imprisonment)
  • Vehicular Homicide: Second Degree Felony (not more than $10,000 fine and/or 15 years imprisonment)
  • Vehicular Homicide/Leaving the Scene: A driver convicted of vehicular homicide who left the scene of an accident is guilty of a First Degree Felony (nor more than $10,000 fine and/or 30 years imprisonment)

Driver License Revocation Periods for DUI – Florida Statutes Sections 322.271 and 322.28

  • First Conviction: Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum 1 year.
  • Second Conviction Within 5 Years: Minimum 5 years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 1 year. Other 2nd offenders same as “First Conviction” above.
  • Third Conviction Within 10 Years of the Second Conviction: minimum 10 years revocation. May be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after two years.
  • Fourth Conviction (Regardless of When Prior Convictions Occurred) and Murder with Motor Vehicle: Mandatory permanent revocation. No hardship reinstatement.
  • DUI Manslaughter: Mandatory permanent revocation. If no prior DUI related convictions, may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 5 years.
  • Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide Convictions: Minimum 3-year revocation.

Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) – Alcohol-Related Convictions/Disqualifications – Florida Statutes Section 322.61

  • Persons convicted of driving a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .04 or above: driving a motor vehicle while he or she is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance or refusing to submit to a test to determine the alcohol concentration while driving a commercial motor vehicle, driving a commercial motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, or driving a commercial motor vehicle while in possession of a controlled substance shall be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of 1 year. This is in addition to any provisions of s. 316.193 for DUI convictions.
  • Second or subsequent conviction of any of the above offenses arising out of separate incidents will result in a permanent disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle.
  • There are no provisions for persons disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle to obtain a hardship (business or employment) license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Business Purposes Only/Employment Purposes Only Reinstatements – Florida Statutes Sections 322.271 and s. 322.28

  • First Conviction: Must complete DUI school, apply to Department for hearing for possible hardship reinstatement. Mandatory ignition interlock device for up to six months for BAL of .15 or higher.
  • Second Conviction (or more): No hardship license except as provided below. Mandatory ignition interlock device for one year, or for two years if BAL is greater than .20.
  • Second Conviction Within 5 Years (5-Year Revocation): May apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after one year. Must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period (failure to report for counseling or treatment shall result in cancellation of the hardship license). Applicant may not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or have driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement. Mandatory ignition interlock device for one year, or for two years if BAL is greater than .15.
  • Third Conviction Within 10 Years (10-Year Revocation): May apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after two years. Must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period (failure to report for counseling or treatment shall result in the cancellation of the hardship license). Applicant may not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement.  Mandatory ignition interlock device for two years.
  • DUI Manslaughter with No Prior DUI Related Conviction (Permanent Revocation): May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 5 years have expired from date of revocation or expired from date of term of incarceration provided the following requirements have been met:

1. Has not been arrested for a drug-related offense for at least 5 years prior to the hearing;

2. Has not driven a motor vehicle without a license for at least 5 years prior to the hearing;

3. Has been alcohol and drug-free for at least 5 years prior to the hearing; and

4. Has completed DUI school and has been be supervised under the DUI program for the remainder of  the revocation period (failure to report for counseling or treatment shall result in cancellation of the hardship license).

5. Ignition interlock device required for two years.

  • Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide Convictions (3 Year Revocation): May immediately apply for hardship reinstatement hearing. Must complete DUI school or advanced driver improvement course.

DUI School Requirements – Florida Statutes Sections 316.193, 322.271 and 322.291

  • First Conviction: Must complete DUI school before hardship reinstatement. Those who wait out revocation period before reinstatement need only show proof of enrollment or completion to become re-licensed. If you enrolled and your license has been reinstated after the revocation period expires, failure to complete the DUI school within 90 days after reinstatement will result in license cancellation; the driver cannot then be re-licensed until DUI school is completed.
  • Second Conviction in 5 Years (5-Year Revocation) or Third Conviction in 10 Years (10-Year Revocation): You must complete DUI school following conviction.
  • DUI Manslaughter With No Prior DUI Related Conviction (Permanent Revocation): Must complete DUI school before hardship reinstatement.
  • Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide (Minimum 3 year Revocation): See 13F
  • If You Wait Until Revocation Period Expires: Must enroll in DUI school and pass the driver’s license examinations to be re-licensed. Failure to complete the school within 90 days after such reinstatement will result in cancellation of the license until the school is completed.
  • Reckless Driving: If the court has reasonable cause to believe that the use of alcohol, chemical or controlled substances contributed to a violation of reckless driving, the person convicted of reckless driving must complete DUI school if ordered by the court.
  • Treatment: Treatment resulting from a psychosocial evaluation may not be waived without a supporting psychosocial evaluation by a court appointed agency with access to the original evaluation.

Chemical or Physical Test Provisions (Implied Consent Law) – Florida Statutes Sections 316.1932, 316.1933, 316.1934, and 316.1939

  • Refusal: Refusal to submit to a breath, urine, or a blood test is admissible as evidence in DUI criminal proceedings. Second or subsequent refusal is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
  • Driver’s License Suspension Periods: First refusal, suspended for 1 year. Second or subsequent refusals, suspended for 18 months.
  • Commercial Driver’s License Disqualification Periods: First refusal in a commercial motor vehicle, disqualified for 1 year. Second or subsequent refusals in a commercial motor vehicle, disqualified permanently. No hardship reinstatement permitted.
  • Forceful Withdrawal of Blood: If necessary, blood may be withdrawn in DUI cases involving serious bodily injury or death by authorized medical personnel with the use of reasonable force by the arresting officer, even if the driver refuses.
  • Unconscious: Any person who is incapable of refusal by reason of unconsciousness or other mental or physical condition shall be deemed not to have withdrawn his consent to such test. A blood test may be administered whether or not such person is told that his failure to submit to such a blood test will result in the suspension of his privilege to operate a motor vehicle.
  • Portable Alcohol Breath Testing Devices: Authorized by s.322.2616, F.S., for persons under the age of 21. Reading is admissible as evidence in any administrative hearing conducted under s. 322.2616, F.S.

Adjudication and Sentencing – Florida Statutes Sections 316.656 and 322.2615

Penalty to be Imposed by Court: Judges are prohibited from deviating from the administrative suspension/revocation periods mandated by statute. The courts are prohibited from withholding adjudication in DUI cases; or from reducing a DUI charge if the defendant’s blood alcohol was .15 or greater.

Driving While License Suspended or Revoked – Florida Statutes Section 322.34

Any person whose driver’s license/privilege is suspended for Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Level, or revoked for DUI, DUI Manslaughter or Vehicular Homicide, or for any other offense ordered by the court and who causes death or serious bodily injury to another person by operating a motor vehicle in a careless or negligent manner is guilty of a 3rd degree felony, punishable by both imprisonment of not more than 5 years, a fine not to exceed $5,000, or both.

Administrative Suspension of Persons Under the Age of 21 for Driving With an Alcohol Level .02 or Above

Section 322.2616, Florida Statutes, authorizes law enforcement officers having probable cause to believe that a motor vehicle is being driven by or is in the actual physical control of a person who is under the age of 21 while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or who has any alcohol level may lawfully detain this person and may request them to submit to a test to determine the alcohol level. This violation is neither a traffic infraction nor a criminal offense, nor does being detained under this statute constitute an arrest.

  • First Suspension for Persons Under the Age of 21 With An Alcohol Level .02 or above: 6 months.
  • Second or Subsequent Suspensions: 1 year.
  • First Suspension for Refusal to Submit to Breath Test: 1 year.
  • Second or Subsequent Suspensions for Refusal: 18 months.
  • The suspension is effective immediately. If the breath or blood alcohol level is .05 or higher, the suspension shall remain in effect until completion of a substance abuse evaluation and course. The officer will issue the driver a temporary permit effective 12 hours after issuance which is valid for 10 days, provided the driver is otherwise eligible.

Review Hearings For Administrative Suspensions and Disqualifications

Florida Statutes Sections 322.2615 and s. 322.64 authorize the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles upon the request of the driver to conduct formal and informal reviews for the purpose of sustaining, amending or invalidating administrative suspensions and disqualifications. The decisions of the department shall not be considered in any trial for a violation of Florida Statutes Section 316.193, nor shall any written statement submitted by a person in his request for review be admissible into evidence against him in any such trial. The disposition of any related criminal proceedings shall not affect a suspension/disqualification.

Hardship License Prohibited:

1. Florida law prohibits any hardship reinstatement upon 2nd or subsequent suspension for test refusal or if driver has been convicted of (DUI) section 316.193, F.S., two or more times.

2. Persons disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle cannot obtain a hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

South Florida DUI Attorney

Speaking to a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest is critical when you are facing a DUI charge. Contact Nellie L. King, P.A. at 561-833-1084,  available 24 hours a day, or fill out a form on the side of this page to schedule your free initial consultation.