Each time someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired, they risk becoming a statistic. In 2021, over 13,000 people died from alcohol-related traffic incidents. The worst detail about this metric is that every death was preventable.
While driving under the influence doesn’t always result in an accident, it comes with the risk of severe penalties. This is particularly true if you’re drinking and driving with a child passenger. Let’s explore what the Florida DUI penalty chart has to say about a scenario like this.
What Is the Florida DUI Penalty Chart?
This figure helps people better understand the punishment for different Florida DUI scenarios. As you might expect, repeat offenders will experience harsher penalties. However, those with a minor in the vehicle at the time of the incident will also face great consequences.
Listed below are details about what to expect in different scenarios where a minor is present. Keep in mind that you can also experience the same penalties if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15% or above. Additional penalties for each offense include 50 hours of community service, DUI school completion, and substance abuse evaluation.
Your first offense with a minor in the vehicle could land you up to nine months in jail or probation for up to one year. You face a potential fine of $1,000 to $2,000.
If your license is suspended, it will be for 12 months. Your vehicle will be impounded for at least 10 days. Those convicted in this scenario will also be required to have an ignition lock on their vehicle for six months.
Second offenders who have a minor in the vehicle face up to 12 months in jail. Depending on the judge’s ruling, you could be on probation for up to one year.
Fines range from $2,000 to $4,000. Your license could potentially be suspended for five years.
If this is your second conviction within five years, your vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. Otherwise, it will be for 10 days. Those ordered to install ignition interlock devices will be required to do so for a one-year minimum.
A 12-month jail sentence and probation of up to one year are the primary consequences you face for a third offense. A fine between $4,000 and $5,000 is also a possibility.
If the judge suspends your license, they’ll do so for 10 years. If this is your third offense within 10 years, your car will be impounded for 90 days.
For offenses outside of this range, your car will be impounded for 10 days. Ignition interlock devices must be installed for a minimum of two years.
Fourth Offense or Greater
This scenario carries the harshest penalties. From the fourth offense onward, you’ll be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor and face up to five years in prison. Your probationary period can also last up to five years.
Fines range from $2,000 to $5,000. Instead of license suspension, it will be permanently revoked. The judge will decide how long your vehicle stays impounded.
Although your license will be permanently revoked, you can still obtain a hardship license. This allows you to travel only to certain locations, such as work, school, or the doctor’s office. For this reason, you’ll need an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least two years.
What to Do if Pulled Over
If you get pulled over while driving under the influence, it’s essential to understand the right course of action. This could dictate whether you achieve a favorable outcome. Let’s look at the key steps below.
Safely and Calmly Pull Over
You should immediately pull over, and come to a complete stop. It’s crucial to remember that every aspect of the stop, including your driving leading up to it, is being documented when you’re pulled over for DUI.
Maintain Your Politeness
The interaction with the officer is being both audibly and visually recorded. Ensure that your behavior does not give anyone reviewing the recording reason to think you were impolite, unreasonable, or under the influence of alcohol. Always address the officer as “sir or ma’am” and refrain from any confrontational behavior.
Do Not Confess to Drinking
Following a Florida DUI stop, you must provide the police officer with your identification, driver’s license, registration, and insurance information. However, you are not obligated to respond to any potentially self-incriminating questions they may ask, such as “how much have you had to drink tonight?” You are not required to answer this question, and it is in your best interest to remain silent and avoid providing any information. Remember that the conversation is being recorded, and any admission of drinking can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Request Legal Counsel
If you are arrested, look into hiring a lawyer as soon as possible. At the scene and during the aftermath, say only what’s necessary to law enforcement.
Don’t attempt to explain yourself. Your lawyer will provide advice to get you on the right track.
Finding a Legal Professional
When searching for an attorney to work with, thoroughly examine their reputation. This will provide insight into the experience you’ll get.
Look into their payment structure, as well. The last thing you want is to deal with unexpected fees or expenses.
Prioritize lawyers who concentrate in this area of law. The more cases they’ve handled, the better.
Ask if they will delegate your case to someone else at their firm. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but it could lead to someone you’ve never met handling the bulk of your case.
If they do plan on delegating, ask to meet the person they’ll give the case to. From here, you can determine whether that individual meets your needs.
Never Drive Under the Influence
Even if you’re only driving around the corner, getting behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking can have terrible consequences. Consider the information on the Florida DUI penalty chart and use these facts as a deterrent. Even a single incident can derail your entire life.
For those who need legal help, it’s best to get in touch with RHINO Lawyers. Our team of reputable legal professionals can assess your situation and come up with the best solution.
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RHINO Lawyers can help and guide you through a system molded by law enforcement, judges, and lawyers for decades. Having won cases for our clients in similar circumstances, our criminal defense team knows what it takes to fight on your behalf.
Let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at (844) RHINO-77.