Florida DWI / DUI

In Florida, a DUI is a serious offense. DUI stands for Driving under the Influence, while DWI stands for Driving While Impaired. Unlike a few other states, Florida does not make a distinction between the two charges.

Florida’s Law
Florida’s DUI law says that if it is proven that your normal faculties are impaired OR your blood alcohol content or breath alcohol level is above .08%, you are guilty of a DUI. The penalties are the same regardless of whether you exhibited impairment or a chemical test was administered.

The Penalty
The penalties for conviction of a DUI in Florida are stiff. Judges are prohibited from offering any leniency and must follow the law exactly in regard to the penalties.

First-time offenders face:

  • fines from $500 to $2000 depending on their BAL (blood or breath alcohol level)
  • 50 hours or more of community service or additional fines
  • probation for up to a year
  • incarceration of up to nine months depending on their BAL and ages of passengers
  • 10 days of vehicle impoundment
  • loss of their license for six months to one year
  • enrollment in an approved DUI school to receive a hardship license

With a second offense in a five-year period:

  • fines increase to the $1000 to $4000 range
  • probation is no longer an option
  • mandatory incarceration of ten days, two of which must be consecutive
  • total incarceration of up to twelve months
  • 30 days of vehicle impoundment
  • loss of driver’s license for five years, hardship reinstatement possible after one year
  • mandatory completion of DUI school

Additional offenses within a ten-year period bring:

  • fines increase to the $2000 to $5000 range
  • mandatory incarceration of thirty days, two of which must be consecutive
  • total incarceration up to twelve months if it’s a third offense
  • total incarceration up to five years if it’s the fourth offense or more
  • 90 days of vehicle impoundment
  • loss of driver’s license for ten years, hardship reinstatement possible after two years
  • mandatory completion of DUI school

Even Stiffer Penalties Are Possible
If you were also involved in an accident when you were charged with a DUI and seriously harmed someone, you could receive even harsher penalties. Not only will you have to carry that burden with you for the rest of your life, you may also lose your driver’s license permanently and face additional jail time. Play it safe, and make sure that you never drink and drive.

Leave a Response