What happens if I am convicted of DUI?

If you are found guilty of a DUI, the court will assess penalties based on the state sentencing guidelines dictated by statute.  In Florida, if this is your first offense, you will be facing a maximum of 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 (if your BAC is below .15).  Assuming you do not maintain a lengthy criminal record, it is likely that the judge will show leniency on your first offense and not assess significant jail time, however Florida law requires that an individual convicted of DUI be spend no less than 8 hours in jail.  The judge may opt instead for mandatory alcohol treatment programs or community service.

Penalties increase with each subsequent DUI conviction, culminating in a designation as a “habitual offender” under Florida statute upon your fourth conviction.  A fourth offense can result in up to five years of jail time, but, most severely, the Florida DMV will revoke your license for life without the possibility for reinstatement as a result of hardship.

Recent legislation passed in 2010 allowed this restriction to be reduced for four-time offenders who meet certain prerequisites.  As long as the original offense did not include a charge of manslaughter and as long as the offender does not drive for a period of ten years after conviction, they may be eligible for license reinstatement after ten years, with a one-year probationary driving period with restricted driving privileges.

Your vehicle will be impounded by the police department for a period of ten days upon your first conviction.  This period does not begin accruing until after you have been released from incarceration.  The DMV will also revoke your driver’s license for 6 months or longer, although in some cases you may apply for and be granted a hardship exception that will allow you to drive sooner.

Your judge may also invoke their power to require the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle.   The device acts like a portable breathalyzer, requiring the driver to exhale into the device before they can start the ignition of their car.  If the device detects a certain amount of alcohol on the breath, it will now allow the vehicle to start.
A DUI will remain on your driving record for 75 years after your initial conviction.  This may affect your driving privileges and insurance premiums.

Posted in: DUI