Driving under the influence (DUI), also called drunk driving, is a serious crime with serious consequences. Sometimes they stretch far beyond the realm of legality. In 2015 there were over ten thousand deaths due to alcohol-related car accidents in the United States, or about 30 percent of all accidents. The younger you are, the more likely it is you’ll be involved in one of these fatal scenarios. Non-alcohol drug-related accidents account for 16 percent of all other crashes. These aren’t statistics to scoff at, and that’s why the penalties for DUI can be so harsh.
In Florida, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is .08. Once you pass this threshold, you place your future (and others) in jeopardy.
There are a number of penalties attached to DUI. When you receive a first conviction in the state of Florida, you’ll likely have to pay a fine that can range from $250 to $500. In addition, you’ll be ordered to provide community service for fifty hours. You may also receive probation for a period of no more than one year, imprisonment for no more than six months, or the suspension of your license for at least 180 days. If there was a minor in the car at the time of the DUI, you can receive a stiffer prison sentence of more than six months but no more than nine months time. On top of all that, you’ll likely have to attend DUI school for at least 12 hours.
That’s just for the first offense. Don’t forget, these are just the legal ramifications. Serious as they are, they’ll likely lead to a hefty financial burden. On top of potential legal and court fees, you’re probably going to see insurance premiums climb as a result.
The penalties continue to pile on the more times you are convicted of DUI in short time spans. If a fourth DUI is charged as a felony, then you’re looking at a minimum fine of $1,000 and maximum of $5,000. Maximum probation could reach up to five years. Worse than that, you can spend up to five years in prison and permanently lose your license. If the court determines that you may have a bigger problem than drinking and driving, then it may mandate that you be evaluated for substance abuse. Following this evaluation, treatment may be recommended.
Because the penalties are so stiff and the crime is so serious, it is recommended that anyone charged with DUI acquire the services of a skilled attorney. The right defense can help shed light on the incident that the court may not see otherwise and is crucial to ensuring that no one takes advantage of your situation. Take the matter seriously.