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The DUI sentences and penalties in Florida for DUI arrests range in their severity depending on the circumstances of your case. A first time DUI arrest carries different sentences than a second DUI. There are many different types of penalties and sentences outside of jail and prison that you need to be aware of.
The first thing to recognize about driving under the influence in Florida is that it is considered very serious in this state. DUI penalties in Florida are heavy for anyone who is convicted of DUI, including possible jail, probation, fines, loss of your license and a requirement to attend mandatory DUI school where you will be assessed to see whether you can handle alcohol in the future.
The only sure fire way of avoiding getting a DUI charge in Florida if you drive regularly is simple: don't drink and drive. Florida's DUI laws are really quite straightforward. If you are not a minor (under 21) or a commercial driver license holder, you cannot drive with more than a 0.08 blood alcohol level. If you are a minor, you can't drink and drive at all and if you are a CDL holder then the limit is 0.04.
The problem is knowing how much alcohol you can drink without going over the limit. It's a hard call and everyone behaves differently even after a single drink. If you are arrested for DUI and you think you have been treated unfairly, then you should contact a Florida DUI lawyer to help you fight your charge.
DUI laws in Florida mean that the penalties can be severe if you are convicted. A DUI lawyer in Florida may be able to get your charge dismissed altogether or at least get the penalties reduced. It all depends on how you were arrested and what happened when you were asked to take a blood alcohol test. Don't think that DUI is a minor charge. The prosecution will be out to give you the maximum penalty and you will find that your life will never be the same again.
You would probably have been stopped by a police officer and asked to take some tests to see if you were affected by alcohol when driving. The officer can only pull you over if he or she had some reason for suspecting you were DUI. The officer can arrest you for DUI based on these tests and take you to a police station for a blood alcohol test. These tests can often be challenged by your DUI lawyer as they can be suspect or misleading.
If you refuse to blow into a breathalyzer or take a blood or urine test, you will almost certainly face a criminal charge separate to the DUI charge itself.
Penalties for DUI in Florida depend on many different factors. Was it a first offense or have you been convicted for DUI before? What was the level of alcohol detected by the breathalyzer or other blood alcohol test? Are you an adult or a minor? What sort of license do you hold? Did you cause an accident or injure anybody while DUI? What evidence did the arresting officer have about your field sobriety tests?
If this was your first DUI conviction, then you are looking at a fine of between 500 to 1000 dollars and a possible jail sentence of up to 6 months. Your car will be impounded for ten days and you could lose your license for 6 to 12 months as well. Unless you apply for it, there is a minimum period of 30 days in which you will not be able to have a hardship license. A new law brought in this year allows any first offender to apply for a hardship license even if they have refused a breathalyzer test, which may be a relief to you. In addition, there will be court costs to pay.
You can usually reduce the period of any suspension by attending DUI school, but in some circumstances (repeat offenses and higher blood alcohol levels) you may have to attend DUI school anyway.
All these penalties are ramped up if it is a second or third offense. The fines are higher, the period of jail, if it is imposed on you, will be longer. You will be asked to do probation for longer and your license will be suspended for longer, too. Generally, if you have already been convicted for DUI before, it will be much harder or impossible to get a hardship license. You may have to attend a victim impact panel and have an ignition interlock device fitted to your car even if you are on a restricted license.
Florida DUI penalties are some of the harshest in the country but this doesn't mean that when you are arrested for DUI you are automatically guilty. With the help of an experienced DUI lawyer you can fight your charge and get it dropped altogether if the evidence the prosecution puts together is weak. Even if you are convicted, your Florida DUI lawyer may be able to get your penalties reduced or your period of license suspension reduced so that you can get on with your normal life.
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