A DUI defense lawyer in Clay County explains
As a DUI defense law firm with more than 30 years of experience in Florida, one of the top questions we hear is "What happens to me if I get convicted of DUI?"
Many people are aware of the different types of DUI charges, which can ultimately lead to jail time and fees. Fewer people know about DUI probation. Let us be frank: Florida's DUI probation is harsh, technical, confusing, and loaded with opportunities to violate.
Can't afford a surprise fee? Violation.
Your babysitter cancels at the last minute and you bring your kid to an appointment? Violation.
You're 5 minutes late for a re-education class due to slow public transportation? Violation.
When you violate your driving under the influence (DUI) probation, the penalty can be any combination of more jail time, fines, and longer license suspension, among other negatives.
Florida DUI probation
In Florida, if you are convicted of a first offense DUI (also sometimes known as DWI, driving while intoxicated or impaired) your sentence typically includes probation. Probation is a period of supervision and restricted activities while you complete the terms of the court's ruling. Normally, a combination of jail time and probation cannot be longer than one year for first offenses. DUI probation is assessed for second, third, and subsequent offenses, too.
Details of Florida's DUI probation include:
- Monthly check-ins
- Completion of a substance abuse course that includes a psychosocial evaluation
- Completion of an authorized substance abuse program (if recommended by the substance abuse course)
- Paying for the cost of classes, evaluation, treatment, and appeals out of pocket
- 50 hours of community service
- In most cases, your vehicle will be impounded or immobilized for 10 days and you will be charged for associated costs
Failure to complete any of these tasks usually results in the suspension or revocation of driving privileges, but you may be able to negotiate for them back on a restricted basis. Imprisonment and additional fines and community service may also be a violation penalty.
More DUI penalties
Not every DUI probation or sentence is the same.
The terms of your sentence, for example, largely depend on your history and BAC level. Florida has different penalties for a first, second, and third offense DUI with additional punishments for those who drive with a "high" BAC of 0.2 or higher (the legal limit is 0.08).
In addition to probation, here are some of the other penalties that Florida imposes on first-time DUI convicts:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction
- Ignition interlock is installed on first conviction with a BAC of 0.15 or higher for a mandatory six months
You should also know that a third DUI is considered a felony and, on average, a person's insurance rate increases by 40% after a Florida DUI.
If you're facing drunk driving charges, talk to a DUI defense attorney
A DUI conviction in Florida can seriously upend your life. The effects of a suspended license and personal finances drained by court fees can be ruinous.
At Aguilar & Sieron, P.A., our DUI defense lawyers know how the Florida justice system works and how to fight for the results you deserve. Our attorneys know what it takes to have charges reduced or dropped. For example, in some cases, a DUI charge can be reduced to a reckless driving charge. In other cases, people can avoid court with a pre-trial diversion contract.
We also know how to challenge the prosecution's evidence, such as breathalyzer results and field sobriety tests.
If you have been charged with DUI or think charges are pending, you should know your legal rights and options. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you start protecting your rights and freedoms.