With over 32,000 DUI arrests as of 2020, Florida accounts for 3% of all DUI arrests made in the country. DUIs in the Sunshine State are severe and carry increased penalties for every subsequent conviction. Even more, it’s highly likely that the prosecution will be extremely aggressive.
If you were charged with DUI in the past, getting charged again may trigger strong emotions. Every prior DUI charge on your record will raise the odds and consequences. So, what should you expect from the justice system in such a predicament?
Read on to find out.
Florida DUI Penalties
Your record and the circumstances surrounding the offense will determine the sentence for a DUI conviction. These circumstances include your blood alcohol content (BAC), liability for the accident, and passengers in the vehicle.
A BAC exceeding 0.15 percent will attract higher fines and lengthy jail sentences. The court may also require you to use an ignition interlock device.
Penalties for a first DUI if your BAC was below 0.15 percent include a maximum fine of $1,000, 50-hour community service, and enrolment in a level one DUI program. Other penalties include a six-month jail sentence (with one year of probation), license revocation for 180 days to one year, and your vehicle being impounded.
Penalties for Second DUI with a BAC below 0.15 Percent
A second DUI conviction will attract a maximum fine of $2,000 and license revocation for 180 days to a year. You may also face a 9-month jail term (with a year of probation) and attend a level two DUI school. Expect your vehicle to be impounded for 30 days and an ignition interlock device installed in your car for six months.
If you commit the second DUI within five years of the first charge, you will spend a minimum of ten days in jail. The authorities will also revoke your license for five years.
Penalties for Multiple DUIs
Your DUI charge will be considered a felony if you face a third DUI in ten years of your previous two convictions. The same will apply if you face a fourth DUI charge.
Penalties for a felony DUI include a maximum fine of $5,000 and license revocation for ten years. You may also face a 5-year prison term with a minimum 30-day jail sentence.
Other multiple DUI penalties in Florida include your vehicle being impounded for 90 days, having an ignition interlock device in the car for two years, and enrolling in a level three DUI school.
Paths to Take When Facing Multiple DUIs
Your options for navigating multiple DUI charges are few since the penalties are severe. You may have to take a plea deal and accept the potential consequences. With the help of a lawyer, it’s possible to have the charges withdrawn for lack of evidence before the trial date.
You can negotiate for a reduction of charges with your counsel’s help. If others fail to work, fighting the charges head-on at trial can be the last option.
How to Improve Your Chances of Beating The Case
A good defense strategy can increase your chances of beating a DUI case. All that matters in the defenses is the facts of the case. And the right person to help you argue your case in court is a DUI defense attorney.
Your attorney may argue a lack of reasonable suspicion during the traffic stop. They may also suggest that the arresting officer followed improper procedures before the arrest. Other defenses include evidence mishandling and reasons invalidating the breath test results.
Effects on Your Criminal Record
Since DUI qualifies as a criminal charge, each conviction results in a felony or misdemeanor on your record. Multiple DUI convictions will stay on your record for life. They will appear in Criminal History Records.
Note: a DUI conviction will also appear on your background check and your criminal record for 75 years. And there’s no way to expunge the conviction.
Can You Still Get a Job?
Multiple DUI convictions won’t bar employers from hiring you. However, expect many employers to carry out background checks when considering you for a job position. Also, a lengthy driver’s license suspension can make it hard to find employment.
Since Florida is considered an at-will employment state, you risk getting fired from your job due to a DUI arrest or conviction. The termination will depend on your occupation, industry, employer’s policies on DUI, and your existing relationship with the employer.
You risk losing your job after being convicted for multiple DUIs for several reasons. First, since you will be spending a lot of time in court, it will be difficult to maintain your work schedule. Jail time and attending DUI school will also put you out of work.
How Multiple DUIs Impacts Other Aspects of Your Life
Multiple DUI convictions may make it harder for you to secure rental housing. This is because landlords do background checks, and some aren’t accommodating to tenants with a criminal record.
If you are yet to become a US citizen, a subsequent DUI conviction can take a toll on your immigration status. You risk facing deportation depending on the circumstances behind the DUI charge.
You may also lose your right if the DUI charge qualifies as a felony. The authorities may also revoke your rights to own a firearm due to multiple DUI convictions. Other life aspects that may be affected include child custody disputes, obtaining a professional license, and getting auto insurance.
Need Legal Help When Facing Multiple DUIs?
Facing multiple DUIs can make your life more complicated and risk your freedom. But with the right legal representation, this experience will be less daunting. Your attorney will help with the negotiations and defenses to improve the outcomes.
Trust RHINO Lawyers with your case, whether it involves criminal defense or personal injury. Our attorneys will involve you in developing unique strategies to help your case. Schedule a free case analysis now to get the answers you need.
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