Florida DUI Laws

DUI or Driving Under the Influence in the State of Florida is a serious offense. If you are pulled over by a police officer and found to have a blood alcohol or breath alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or greater, you are above the legal allowable limits. You can be charged with a DUI. You may also be convicted of the same offense if your normal faculties are impaired by use of a controlled substance or drugs.

The penalties for first time offenders are harsh. If you are a repeat offender, the penalties become more severe. For purposes of this article, we will focus only on first time offenders. If convicted of a DUI, you may face some or all of the following consequences.

FIRST TIME OFFENDERS

FINES

If convicted with a BAL under .15, you face a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000. If your BAL registered .15 or higher, the fine is not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000.

COMMUNITY SERVICE

The court will order you to perform 50 hours of community service. If you refuse to complete the 50 court-ordered community service hours in the allotted period of time, your fine will be increased by $10 for every hour that you failed to complete.

PROBATION

May be given in conjunction with imprisonment or on its own. The total amount of the probation period plus any prison time can not exceed 1 year.

IMPRISONMENT

If your BAL was less than .15, you can be sentenced to a maximum of 6 months in jail or, at the discretion of the court, serve some or all of your time in an approved alcoholism or drug treatment program.

VEHICLE IMPOUND

Your vehicle may be impounded for up to 10 days. If the defendant’s family has no other source of transportation and the impoundment would create a hardship, the court may allow the vehicle to be returned to a family member.

REVOCATION OF DRIVER’S LICENSE

Your Driver’s License will be revoked for a minimum of 180 days, but for no more than 1 year. In the event that you are convicted of DUI Manslaughter, you may have your license permanently revoked. After 5 years, you are eligible to apply for a hardship reinstatement of your license.

DRIVING SCHOOL

It is a mandatory requirement that you attend DUI School and receive a certificate showing that you enrolled and completed the educational course.

INSURANCE

Florida No Fault insurance requires every driver to carry a minimum amount of Bodily Injury and Property Damage insurance. Currently, the State minimums are $10,000 Bodily Injury per person, $20,000 Bodily Injury total and $10,000 Property Damage (10/20/10). One of the indirect consequences of being convicted of a DUI in Florida is that your insurance rates will go up. An SR22 is actually a form that the insurance company uses to report that they have issued you the minimum amount of coverage required based on certain conditions that the driver must meet to drive legally. Prior to October 2007, the SR22 only required the regular 10/20/10 coverage. Since that time, if convicted of a DUI, the required coverage has been increased substantially. You must file an FR44 form and have 100/300/50 coverage in order to get your driver’s license reinstated.

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