Florida Drunk Driving: Jail Time & Penalties

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Florida’s DUI (driving while under the influence) laws on jail time and penalties are complex. Florida recently increased the penalties associated with DUIs in the state. In fact, drivers arrested for a DUI will now pay thousands of dollars in penalties instead of hundreds of dollars.

Jail time in Florida

William D. Umansky, a Florida attorney with over 15 years of experience whose practice focuses in the areas of personal injury and criminal defense, provided us with the following information in a recent interview:

  • 1st offense. Jail time for a first conviction is not more than six months, however if you have a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher or a minor in the vehicle, it goes to nine months, which is the maximum penalty. Probation on a DUI first conviction is no more than one year; if it’s a felony DUI, then it’s up to five years.
  • 2nd conviction. On a second conviction, you can face nine months jail time; however if you have a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher or a minor in the vehicle, it’s 12 months possible jail time. If your second conviction for DUI is within five years, you face mandatory jail of at least ten days and at least 48 hours of that confinement must be consecutive. So, you have to do at least two days consecutive jail.
  • 3rd conviction. If you get a third conviction and it’s within ten years, there’s mandatory jail of at least 30 days. In addition, you can face up to five years in prison on certain third and fourth DUI convictions.

Penalties in Florida

Umansky says that the fines and penalties for DUIs in Florida are steep. In fact, they’ve recently been increased for 1st and 2nd convictions. He provided us with the following information:

  • 1st conviction. On a first conviction for DUI, it used to be a $250 fine to a maximum $500 fine. Now it’s a $500 fine to a maximum $1,000 fine.
  • 2nd conviction. The fine on a second conviction used to be $500, now it is $1,000 to $2,000. Fines are again increased if you blow over .15.
  • 3rd conviction. If you are convicted of a third DUI within ten years, that’s a felony punishable up to five years prison or $5,000 fine.
  • 4th conviction. If you have a fourth DUI, it’s also a felony punishable up to five years prison, a $5,000 fine, or if you cause serious bodily injury while driving under the influence regardless of whether it’s your first, second or third offense, it’s a third degree felony punishable up to no more than $5,000 and five years prison.
  • When a death is involved. If death is involved, the DUI becomes a second-degree felony in the state of Florida, which can expose you to a maximum of a $10,000 fine or 15 years in prison. If you’re charged with DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, failing to stop and give information or rendering aid to the victim, you can be charged with first degree felony, which is punishable by more than a $10,000 fine or 30 years in prison.
  • Causing property damage or personal injury. Any person who causes property damage or personal injury to another while driving under the influence can be guilty of a first degree misdemeanor which can mean a $1,000 fine or one year’s jail.

If you have a DUI issue, contact an experienced Florida DUI lawyer to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.

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