Overall, the United States reported 10,511 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Out of those fatalities, 814 occurred in the State of Florida. In Florida, approximately 3.8 alcohol-related driving fatalities occur per every 100,000 people, slightly higher than the national average of 3.2 deaths per 100,000 people.
These alcohol-related fatalities are not the result of a lack of DUI enforcement.
In fact, Florida law enforcement officers arrested 32,127 people for driving under the influence during 2018. And despite all of these arrests, drunk driving still presents a serious danger to anyone on the road.
Even if you’re facing DUI charges, you have rights and are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Consult with an experienced Florida DUI attorney to learn what happens next and what steps you should take. Reach out to Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon online or call (850) 433-6581 today to get started.
DUI in Florida: An Overview
Like other states, Florida criminalizes driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To prove DUI, the prosecutor must show that your “normal faculties” were impaired or that your blood alcohol level (BAC) was at or above 0.08%.
Penalties for DUI in Florida
The criminal penalties associated with a DUI in Florida depend on several factors, most importantly your prior DUI convictions. Your first DUI carries the potential of a fine between $500 and $1,000.
This fine can stand alone or be combined with a period of imprisonment not to exceed six months. A second DUI carries the potential of a fine between $1,000 and $2,000 in combination with a period of imprisonment not to exceed nine months.
For a second DUI conviction, Florida requires a 10-day mandatory jail sentence.
A third DUI carries the potential of a fine between $2,000 and $5,000. If your third DUI occurs within 10 years of any prior drunk driving offense, Florida considers the third DUI a third-degree felony.
If not, Florida considers your third DUI a misdemeanor. Felony DUI carries the potential of up to five years in prison, with a mandatory period of 30 days behind bars. A third misdemeanor DUI carries the possibility of 12 months in jail.
Florida imposes other administrative penalties on drivers convicted of a Florida DUI, including license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device, and immobilization of your vehicle.
One of the most difficult penalties to handle is losing your driver’s license. Many clients want to know what happens to your license when you get a DUI. The answer depends on the steps you take following your arrest.
The period of Florida license suspension varies depending on your previous convictions. Your first DUI conviction carries a potential license suspension of 6-12 months. A second DUI conviction within five years results in a license suspension of at least five years.
For assistance dealing with your Florida DUI license suspension, contact a criminal defense attorney with Emmanual Sheppard & Condon today.
Is Your License Suspended Immediately After a DUI in Florida?
When law enforcement arrests you for DUI in Florida, they ask you to submit to a blood or breath test to measure your blood alcohol content. If you agree and your test results show a BAC at or above 0.08%, you will face the license suspensions outlined above.
If you refuse to submit to the breath test, your driver’s license is suspended immediately for one year. In both cases, law enforcement takes your driver’s license immediately.
What Is the 10-Day Rule?
The administrative suspension of your driver’s license does not take effect until 10 days after the date of your DUI arrest. During the 10 days, you use your DUI citation as your temporary license.
You can potentially save your driver’s license if you challenge the suspension within 10 days of your arrest. After you request the hearing, you’ll receive a 42-day Florida hardship license.
Your license suspension hearing occurs before an administrative judge for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In this hearing, your DUI defense attorney can present evidence showing that the suspension of your license is improper.
Or in the alternative, if eligible, you can waive your right to the Formal Review Process and obtain a business purposes only (BPO) license that will allow driving for the following:
- Driving to and from work;
- Attending church;
- Going to the grocery store;
- Traveling to court; or
- Going to your lawyer’s office.
For assistance on your options to challenge the administrative suspension or whether you are eligible for BPO or Hardship license, contact a criminal defense attorney with Emmanual Sheppard & Condon today.
Contact Emmanual Sheppard & Condon for Help with Your Florida DUI License Suspension
Many people ask, Does your license get suspended for DUI? The answer depends largely on your circumstances. This small window does not leave much time to strategize before the hearing, so contacting a lawyer right away is critical.
Proactively speaking with an experienced DUI lawyer at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon is one of the best things you can do to address retention of your license after a DUI arrest. If you do not act within 10 days of your arrest, you’ll likely lose your driver’s license for at least six months.
Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon has served its clients for over 100 years, establishing a proud tradition of integrity and excellence in the legal profession. Call (850) 433-6581 or send an online message today and let us help.