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Florida DUI Law

Over a quarter of the 3,242 traffic fatalities on Florida’s highways in 2004 involved a driver who was over the legal limit.  541 of the deaths involved a driver who was at least at twice the legal limit (.10).  Almost a third (1,023) of the fatalities involved a driver who had been drinking any alcohol before driving.

Legal Limit: Florida makes it illegal to drive with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or greater.  Florida also makes it illegal to drive with any drug and/or alcohol combination that impairs your normal faculties.

Actual Physical:  In addition to making it a crime to drive while intoxicated, Florida includes the clause that anyone who is in “actual physical control” of the vehicle is also guilty of the offense.  This is used by Florida to include those persons who have driven the vehicle into a ditch or have somehow rendered it immovable.  This functions to lighten the burden on Florida prosecutors, since they don’t have to show that you were actually driving.

Penalties

First Offense: 

  • Fine of $250 - 500
  • Imprisonment for no more than 6 months.  There is no mandatory minimum.
  • Your license will be revoked for 180 days – 1 year.
  • If the Blood Alcohol Level is greater than .20, the fine escalates to $500-1,000, the prison term becomes no more than 9 months, and the court will mandate an ignition interlock system for up to 6 months on all cars owned, leased, or routinely driven by the defendant.

Second Offense: 

  • Fine of $500 – 1,000
  • Imprisonment for no more than 9 months.  The mandatory minimum is 10 days, at least 48 hours of which must be consecutive. 
  • Your license will be revoked for a minimum of 5 years if the second offense was within 5 years of the first.  If it was more than 5 years later, the license revocation will be 180 days – 1 year.
  • Placement of an Ignition Interlock System on any car owned, leased, or routinely driven by the defendant for a period of at least one year.
  • If the Blood Alcohol Level is greater than .20, the fine escalates to $1,000-2,000 and the prison term becomes no more than 12 months. 

Third Offense Within 10 Years

  • This is a 3rd Degree Felony and punishment is governed by the 3rd Degree Felony Statute and not by Motor Vehicle Code.
  • Fine of up to $5,000
  • Imprisonment of not more than 5 years.
  • Your license will be revoked for a minimum of 10 years.
  • Placement of an Ignition Interlock System on any car owned, leased, or routinely driven by the defendant for a period of at least one year.

Third Offense Over More Than 10 Years

  • Fine of $1,000 - 2,500
  • Imprisonment for no more than 12 months
  • Your license will be revoked for a minimum of 10 years
  • Placement of an Ignition Interlock System on any car owned, leased, or routinely driven by the defendant for a period of at least two years.

Fourth and Subsequent Offenses, Regardless of Time

  • Penalties for this are the same as for a third offense within 10 years, except that the fine may not be less than $1,000.
  • Permanent license revocation.

Penalties for Causing Bodily Harm/Death

If your driving while intoxicated results in an injury or the death of another person, your penalties are greatly increased.

Damage to another person’s property or injury to another person

  • This is punishable as a First Degree Misdemeanor
  • Imprisonment for up to one year
  • Fine of up to $1,000

Causing Serious Bodily Harm to Another

  • “Serious Bodily Harm” is any condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, or the protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ
  • This is punishable as a Third Degree Felony, the same punishments apply as under the Third Offense within 10 years section.

Causes the Death of Another Person or a “Quickened” Unborn Child

  • Typically punishable as a Second Degree Felony
    • Imprisonment for up to 15 years
    • Fine of up to $10,000.
  • If the person who caused the crash fails to render aid, this is punishable as a First Degree Felony
    • Imprisonment for up to 30 years
    • Fine of up to $10,000.

Probation

All offenders are placed on a monthly reporting probation. 

  • First Offense: Up to 1 year.  Includes a minimum of 50 hours of community service.  Additionally, the court will order impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle for 10 days (which will not be concurrent with any prison sentence being served).
  • Second Offense Within 5 Years:  Up to a year.  Includes a minimum of 50 hours of community service.  Additionally, the court will order impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle for 30 days (which will not be concurrent with any prison sentence being served).
  • Third and Subsequent Offenses Within 10 Years:  Up to a year.  Includes a minimum of 50 hours of community service.  Additionally, the court will impound or immobilize the vehicle for 30 to 90 days (which will not be concurrent with any prison sentence being served).

DUI Program

Each offender must complete a DUI program run by the Department of Motor Vehicles.  This course may include an addition fine of up to $1,000 to cover the costs of putting on the program.  This course includes a psychosocial evaluation of the offender.  Failure to enroll in the course will result in a loss of driving privileges until the course has been completed.