What Are the DUI Laws in Pensacola, FL?

Florida considers a driver legally impaired if his or her blood alcohol level (BAC) registers above .08 percent. The legal penalty depends on many factors, including whether the driver has previous convictions, the degree of impairment, and whether he or she caused exceptional risk to others such as driving impaired with a child in the car. Even a first-time conviction has serious consequences that can affect you for the rest of your life.

Penalties for a First Impaired Driving Conviction in Florida

The state considers a first offense of driving under the influence (DUI) a misdemeanor in most situations. However, special circumstance apply that could earn the driver more serious penalties. On July 1, 2009, the state legislature made it possible for prosecutors to pursue enhanced penalties against a driver with a BAC above .15 percent. It was .20 prior to this change. A driver can also face a charge of enhanced DUI if he or she had a child passenger in the vehicle at the time of arrest. Additionally, a first-degree misdemeanor can change to a third-degree felony if the driver has other DUI convictions within a specified period.

Currently, a driver convicted of DUI for the first time with a BAC of .14 or lower faces the following legal penalties:

  • Suspension of driver’s license for a minimum of six months and maximum of 12 months
  • Fine ranging from $250 to $500
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Probation for up to 12 months, although the total of jail time and probation can’t exceed 12 months
  • Completion of 50 hours of community service or the payment of $10 per hour for any hours not completed
  • Impounding of vehicle for 10 days
  • Requirement to attend DUI School as a Level I offender

A charge of enhanced DUI for a first offense subjects the driver to a jail sentence of up to nine months, a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000, and mandatory use of an ignition interlock device for six months as well as the penalties above.

Second, Third, and Fourth DUI Offenses in Florida

When a person faces a repeat charge of DUI, the legal penalties depend on how long ago the previous convictions took place as well as whether the state pursues an enhanced charge or not. The penalties are as follows for a second offense when the first offense occurred more than five years ago:

  • Up to nine months in jail
  • Up to 12 months of probation
  • Fine ranging from $500 to $1,000
  • Mandatory attendance at DUI School as a Level II offender
  • Suspension of driver’s license for six to 12 months
  • Car impounded for 10 days
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 12 months

An enhanced charge brings the above penalties except for a jail sentence up to 364 days, fine of $1,000 to $2,000, and mandatory use of an ignition interlock device for 24 months. Additionally, the defendant may receive a 364-day jail sentence if he or she causes an accident while driving impaired.

Drivers convicted of a third DUI offense when the first or second occurred more than 10 years ago face these legal penalties:

  • Up to 364 days in jail
  • Up to 12 months of probation
  • A fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,500
  • Mandatory attendance at DUI School as a Level II offender
  • Impounding of vehicle for 10 days
  • Mandatory installation of interlock ignition device for 24 months at defendant’s expense

The only change for an enhanced charge at this level is that the fine increases to $2,000 to $5,000.

When considering charges for a fourth offense, a judge first determines whether the defendant has had two DUIs within five years or three DUIs within 10 years. Typical penalties include:

  • Up to 60 months in jail
  • Up to 60 months of probation
  • Fine ranging from $1,000 to $5,000
  • Permanent suspension of driver’s license
  • Impounding of car for 10 days

Secure Your Legal Defense as Soon as Possible

If a police officer has arrested you for DUI, keep in mind that a charge doesn’t automatically mean you’re guilty. You could have a valid legal defense such as the officer administering the test incorrectly or registering a false positive. We encourage you to contact Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, Attorneys at Law, at 850-500-1111 to request a free legal consultation. Since the prosecution will begin building its case against you right away, you don’t want to delay securing an experienced DUI attorney to defend you.

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