If you travel on the roads of Florida, chances are you’ve spotted more than a few patrol cars in the area. The reason for that trend is that the state’s law enforcement is now, more than ever, looking out for people who are driving under the influence of alcohol or while impaired. Because of the number of alcohol-related accidents that take place in Florida each year, more drivers find themselves facing the significant DUI penalties as a result of officers cracking down on DUI offenders.
In Florida, if you are convicted of DUI, the penalties you receive depend a great deal on your previous history of alcohol related driving incidents, the amount of alcohol in your system, and whether you were involved in an accident. Any person operating a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or higher is considered to be impaired and will be arrested for a DUI as a result. If your BAC is higher than .15, the penalties increase.
If you give a breath sample and your BAC is less than .15, the maximum penalties for a first time offender will include an automatic conviction, $1000.00 fine, 12 months of probation, 180 day driver’s license suspension, 50 hours of community service, a victim awareness class, drug & alcohol evaluation and any recommended treatment, a 10 day vehicle impound or immobilization, and you can face up to six (6) months in jail.
Take a look at the following breakdown of average costs for the Florida DUI First Time Minimum Penalty:
- One Year of Supervised Probation – About $637 (Includes monthly fee, intake fee, and drug test fee)
- DUI Counter Attack Class Level 1 – $250
- Any recommended treatment for substance abuse – $200 (Based on an estimated 10 sessions @ $20/each)
- Victim Awareness Panel – $39.95
- 6 Month Driver’s License Suspension – $130+ (Hardship License Application & Reinstatement Fees)
- 50 Hours of Community Service – $250+ (If allowed to “buy out” half”)
- Fine – $500
- Insurance Rate Increase (not disclosed, but expect to pay for it for a few years!)
- Court Costs – $200-500
- Cost of Prosecution – $100
- Cost of Investigation – $150 (Average, includes arresting/investigating officer & breath center tech time, even if you don’t blow)
The total estimated amount is around $2756.95 and that is NOT including an attorney’s fees. If your BAC is greater than .15 or if there is property damage, expect the fine to increase to $2,000 and a possible nine-month jail sentence.
DO YOU BLOW? In Florida, if you refuse to provide a breath/blood/urine sample, the Florida Department of Motor vehicles can suspend your driving privilege for 12 months. Once suspended, you have only 10 days to either elect an administrative review hearing to challenge the suspension OR if you have no prior alcohol offenses, you can decide to wave the review hearing, sign up for a DUI Class and apply for a hardship license – but time is ticking!
Some counties offer diversion programs for first time offenders with no history of alcohol related crimes, but those programs are not guaranteed and may not be available based on the facts of the case.
If you have prior DUI/DWI convictions, you face harsher penalties and can even be charged with a Felony after two DUI convictions. Remember, Florida has decided that DUIs result in an automatic conviction. If you are charged with a Felony DUI, you can become a convicted Felon and lose some of your civil rights.
A DUI Conviction has lasting effects on your future, even long after you’ve completed your sentence. It can never be sealed, expunged, and remains on your criminal record forever. Individuals can face problems when applying for a job, housing, car insurance, or financial aid.
However, at the Colbert Law we know that just because you are arrested for a DUI doesn’t mean that you can be convicted of the crime in court! Depending on the facts of your case, it may be possible to get charges reduced or dismissed and avoid the life changing conviction of a DUI. Contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our experienced DUI Lawyers. Worried about how much this will cost? We tailor our fees based on your history and type of case and will work with you to set up a payment plan. Colbert Law values the importance of good legal representation and believes it should be affordable.
AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile Customers in the Central Florida Area can now reach Colbert Law by dialing #DUI from their mobile phone!