Florida DUI Laws and Penalties 2024 – All You Need to Know

Nellie L. King

Facing any kind of criminal charge in Florida can be frightening, especially when it is something as serious as a DUI. Driving under the influence can be dangerous for both the driver and other people on the road. Therefore, the state of Florida has strict laws in place to discourage individuals from driving while intoxicated. The severity of the penalties given will depend on the kind of charge the defendant is facing. They are also determined by how many previous DUI charges are on their record.

There are several things you might need to know about Florida’s DUI laws. These include the penalties an individual may receive if they are convicted.

What Is Considered a DUI in Florida?

The state of Florida defines “being under the influence” as when an individual is impaired enough that their normal capabilities, such as their reaction time or judgment, are negatively impacted. Florida law states that an individual may be charged with a DUI if they are found to be driving or physically controlling a vehicle while they:

  • Are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other illegal substances
  • Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher
  • Are under the age of 21 and found to have a BAC of 0.02% or higher

If you are pulled over while showing no signs of impairment, but are still found to have a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you may still be arrested and charged with what is known as a “per se DUI.” A per se DUI does not require the same burden of proof as the average DUI charge. Instead, it focuses on the fact that an individual’s BAC was over the legal driving limit.

Penalties for DUIs in Florida

The consequences for a DUI conviction in Florida become more severe as you accumulate more charges within a 10-year period. A judge will make the ultimate decision on the consequences that you face. They will base it on a variety of factors, such as:

  • The severity of your offense
  • The number of prior convictions you have
  • The mandatory minimums for each charge

The average penalties for DUI convictions in Florida are as follows:

First-Time Offense

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Fines ranging from $500 to $1,000
  • Potential license suspension
  • 1 year of probation
  • 50 hours of community service
  • Vehicle impoundment for 10 days

Second-Time Offense

  • Up to 9 months in jail
  • Fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,000
  • License revocation
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in your vehicle for up to 2 years
  • Vehicle impoundment for 30 days

Third-Time Offense

  • Up to 12 months in jail, with a mandatory 30-day sentence
  • Fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000
  • License revocation
  • Ignition Interlock Device installed in your vehicle for at least 2 years
  • Felony charge on your criminal record

Felony DUI Offense

If they are not aggravated, the initial DUI charges an individual will face are usually still classified as misdemeanors. However, there are some cases where an individual may be charged with a felony DUI. These instances include:

  • The defendant caused serious bodily injury to another driver or individual while they were driving under the influence.
  • The defendant caused the death of another driver or individual while driving under the influence, otherwise charged as manslaughter.
  • The defendant has two or more DUI convictions on their record from the last 10 years.
  • The defendant has three or more prior DUI convictions in any timeframe.

FAQs About Florida DUI Laws and Penalties

What Does “Implied Consent” Mean in Florida?

If a driver is pulled over for the suspicion of being under the influence, the implied consent law requires them to consent to blood, urine, or chemical tests. This allows law enforcement officers to calculate the amount of drugs or alcohol that are in their system. If a driver does not consent to these tests, they will immediately face a license revocation for at least one year.

What Does an Ignition Interlock Device Do?

An Ignition Interlock Device, otherwise known as an IID, is a hand-held machine that is installed inside a vehicle. It measures the breath of the driver before they can start the car. The user must blow into the mouthpiece for a certain period, wait for it to calibrate, and then begin operating the vehicle once it passes. Individuals with one or more prior DUI convictions will most likely have to have an IID installed. This is intended to prevent potential DUIs in the future.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record in Florida?

A: Florida has very strict laws regarding how DUIs are placed on criminal records. Unlike other states that only require a DUI charge to stay on an individual’s record for 10 years, the state of Florida will keep any DUI conviction on your record for 75 years. Essentially, this means that it will stay for the entirety of your life. Florida also does not allow DUI convictions to be expunged from an individual’s record.

Do I Need a Lawyer If I’m Arrested for a DUI in Florida?

No matter the severity of your charge, it is always important to find an experienced West Palm Beach, FL DUI Attorney who can represent you in court. The penalties for a potential DUI conviction are quite severe. Working with a skilled attorney can give you a stronger chance of beating your charge. Additionally, an attorney can help you navigate the legal proceedings you will be involved with. They can also build a compelling case to defend you against your charges.

Your West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Firm

DUI charges in Florida are a serious offense. At the Law Offices of Nellie L. King, our team has extensive experience working in the field of criminal defense. We have helped countless clients find resolutions to their cases. We understand how overwhelming and stressful situations like these can become. That is why we are committed to offering criminal defense services that our clients can count on. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge in southern Florida, do not wait to reach out to our team at the Law Offices of Nellie L. King today.

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