Will I Go to Jail for My First DUI?
If were arrested for driving under the influence for the first time, you likely have many questions about the charges you’re facing. A quick internet search will turn up hundreds of horror stories of motorists slapped with jail time, steep fines, and lengthy license suspensions. This should come as no surprise as Florida is a zero-tolerance state when it comes to drunk driving.
In this article, we explore common consequences for a DUI offense and explain how a criminal defense attorney may be able to help you reduce your penalties or even have your charges dismissed.
What Are the Penalties for Driving under the Influence in Florida?
While you could be jailed for a first-time DUI offense, this penalty is usually reserved for repeat offenders. However, that’s not to say that the consequences for a first DUI are not severe—especially if there are aggravating factors present in your case.
If, for instance, you were driving under the influence and caused an accident, drove recklessly, or your blood-alcohol content was two or more times over the legal limit, a judge may be more likely to sentence you to time behind bars. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the penalties for a DUI charge in Florida:
- First Offense: Up to $1,000 in fines, up to six months in jail, the suspension of your license for up to a year.
- Second Offense within 5 Years of First Conviction: Up to $2,000 in fines, up to nine months behind bars, and the suspension of your license for a minimum of five years.
- Third or Subsequent Offense within 10 Years of a Previous Conviction: Up to $5,000 in fines, up to five years in Florida State Prison, and the revocation of your license for a minimum of 10 years.
In addition to these penalties, you may also be put on probation, instructed to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, ordered to attend DUI “school”, and made to complete up to 50 hours of community service. Even if you avoid jail time, the consequences of a DUI can haunt you for the rest of your life. A conviction on your criminal record can limit your employment opportunities, make it difficult to rent an apartment or house, and get an education.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence, it may be in your best interests to turn to a Florida DUI defense attorney. He or she can assess your situation, review the available evidence, and discuss potential defenses to help you fight the charges against you.
Discuss Your Case with a DUI Defense Attorney in Stuart, Florida
Just because you were arrested for drunk driving, does not mean you will be convicted. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to reduce your penalties or even have your case dismissed.
Todd A. Kawecki is a seasoned trial attorney who knows what it takes to achieve a favorable outcome. His experience as a former prosecutor arms him with an intimate understanding of Florida’s laws, statutes, and court proceedings. Available 24/7 to take your calls, dial 772-485-4500 or head over to our Contact Form to request a free consultation.