If you are arrested and convicted of DUI in the state of Florida, you could be facing harsh legal consequences, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. That’s why it’s critical that you take your DUI case seriously from the start and speak to an experienced attorney who can help you fight the charges.
Be aware that anything you tell police during a traffic stop or questioning can be used against you in court. It’s best to practice your right to remain silent and let an experienced attorney do the talking on your behalf.
Do I have to take a DUI test?
Police officers often administered different tests to determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol. However, what many Florida drivers might not realize is they do not legally have to take certain tests. They can refuse to take certain ones and not face any penalties.
Some Florida police officers ask drivers who have been stopped due to suspicions of DUI to take a field sobriety test. Such tests include the “walk and turn” test, the “one leg stand” and the “horizontal gaze Nystagmus” test. You are under no legal obligation to perform any of these tests.
Other police officers might ask you to undergo a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Such tests often include Breathalyzer tests or blood or urine tests. If you refuse to take one of these tests, you could lose your driver’s license for up to one year and possibly go to jail.
However, if you took a BAC test, you have the right to challenge and dispute the results of your BAC test. That’s one of the tactics that many experienced DUI defense attorneys take if you have been arrested and charged with DUI.
Below are the harsh legal consequences you could face if you’re convicted of a DUI.
Penalties for first-time DUI offenders
If you were charged with DUI for the first time, you could face the following penalties:
- Up to six months in jail and/or a fine between $500 and $1,000 if your BAC was below 0.15 percent.
- Up to nine months in jail and/or a fine between $1,000 and $2,000 if your BAC was 0.15 percent or higher, or if you had a minor in the car with you.
- Driver’s license revocation between 180 days and one year if nobody was injured, and at least three years if someone was injured.
- DUI school requirement within 90 days after your driver’s license is reinstated.
- You may have an ignition interlock device installed in your car for six months.
Penalties for a second conviction
The penalties worsen if you have a second or subsequent DUI offense. For a second conviction, you could face:
- Up to nine months in jail and/or a fine between $1,000 and $2,000 if your BAC was below 0.15 percent.
- Up to one year in jail and/or a fine between $2,000 and $4,000 if your BAC was 0.15 percent or higher, or if you had a minor in the car with you.
- Driver’s license revocation for at least five years if the second offense happened within five years from the first offense (you may be able to obtain a hardship license reinstatement after one year).
- If the second offense happened after five years since the first offense, your driver’s license may be revoked between 180 days and one year.
- Ignition interlock device installed in your car for one year.
Penalties for a third DUI conviction or more
For a third conviction, you could face:
- Up to one year in jail and/or a fine between $2,000 and $5,000 (no less than $4,000 if BAC was 0.15 or higher or you had a minor in the car)
- If the third offense happened within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction, your driver’s license can be revoked for a minimum of 10 years (you may be able to obtain a hardship license reinstatement after two years).
- If the third offense happened after 10 years of a prior DUI conviction, your driver’s license can be revoked for 180 days to one year.
- Ignition interlock device installed in your car for two years.
For a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction, you could face up to five years in jail, be fined no less than $2,000 ($4,000 if your BAC was 0.15 percent or greater), and have your license revoked permanently (you may be able to obtain a hardship license reinstatement after five years).
Contact our Florida DUI defense attorneys for help with your case
A DUI conviction is more than a temporary inconvenience. It can have serious legal consequences that can last for several years. In addition to jail time, fines, and driver’s license revocation, it may be difficult to pursue and maintain employment. The Florida DUI defense attorneys at Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. can help you fight the charges and save years of legal complications. We can help you fight the charges by challenging the breath test and chemical test results and looking for errors made by police during a traffic stop.
Our law firm has more than 30 years of experience helping people charged with DUI. We serve clients in Clay County and throughout Northeast Florida. Contact us online to find out how we can help you.