If you are convicted of DUI/DWI in Florida for even the first time, you face criminal and administrative penalties that take a toll on your freedom and your wallet. At Largey Law, we encounter many motorists who learn too late the high price you have to pay for getting behind the wheel after they’ve overindulged. Our dedicated defense lawyers work hard to reduce the consequences for our clients, but as with any legal matter, you’re much better off if you’re never charged. To encourage motorists to drive safely, we offer this summary of the penalties you face for a first time DUI. If you’ve already been arrested, we hope this page encourages you to call an experienced Mount Dora DUI first offense lawyer at our firm who can provide much needed assistance.
Sentencing for Florida first time DUI convictions
Under Florida law, DUI/DWI is one offense, proved by the impairment of normal faculties or an unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven.
- Fines — For a standard DUI, not less than $500 or more than $1,000. However, if the driver’s blood alcohol level (BAL) is .15 or higher or there was a minor in the vehicle, the fine is not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.
- Community service — A mandatory 50 hours of service, or an additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service, is required.
- Probation — The total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed one year.
- Imprisonment — Prison time will not be more than six months, unless your BAL is at .15 or higher or if a minor is in the vehicle, then the sentence can go as high as nine months. At the court’s discretion, the driver may serve part or all of a sentence in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program.
- Impoundment or immobilization of vehicle — The vehicle can be impounded for 10 days, unless the driver’s family has no other transportation. Impoundment or immobilization must not occur concurrently with incarceration.
- Driver license revocation — The driver loses driving privileges for a minimum of 180 days up to one year.
Most DUI offenders suffer additional expenses from higher insurance premiums, time away from work, loss of employment and increased transportation costs. Repeat offenders are subject to aggressive prosecution for felony DUI. All of these are separate from the administrative penalties which your DUI defense attorney must also be prepared to fight.
Administrative Penalties and Procedures for First Time DUI
In addition to the criminal sanctions, DUI offenders must deal with administrative penalties that revoke or restrict driving privileges for a substantial amount of time. Penalties and remedies include:
- Administrative license suspension — A first time DUI offender whose BAL was .08 or above loses driving privileges for six months. A first suspension for refusal to submit to breath, urine or blood test lasts for one year. These suspensions are effective immediately. The arresting officer issues the driver a temporary permit valid for 10 days.
- Administrative disqualification — A commercial vehicle driver with BAL at or above the legal limit of .04 loses all driving privileges for one year.
- Business purposes only license reinstatement — The convicted driver must complete DUI school and apply to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for a hearing on a possible hardship reinstatement. Drivers convicted at .15 BAL or above must submit to having an ignition interlock device installed for up to six months. A disqualified commercial driver is not eligible for a business purposes only reinstatement.
- DUI school requirements — A first time DUI offender must complete DUI school before receiving a hardship reinstatement or driving after the revocation period ends. Failure to complete DUI school within 90 days of reinstatement results in license cancellation. To be re-licensed, the driver must complete DUI school.
Administrative penalties are similar for drivers under age 21 who are found to have a BAL of .02 or higher. Our attorneys are experienced with processes within the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. We provide capable assistance, using all the facts at our disposal to lessen the impact of your DUI arrest.
Reach Out to a Mount Dora First Time DUI Attorney for Compassionate Guidance
Largey Law helps our clients alleviate and avoid burdensome criminal and administrative penalties. For aggressive representation to challenge police procedures and forensic evidence, call our offices or contact us online. Because a DUI arrest can occur at any time, we offer free consultations on weekends and evenings, and can even visit you in jail. Se habla Español.