As an upstanding citizen of Florida, you may think you never have to worry about facing a criminal charge. After all, you have no intention of robbing a bank or assaulting anyone. However, have you ever had a couple of drinks with dinner? Maybe you have grabbed a burger with a friend in a bar on your lunch break and quickly downed a pint of beer with it. If you ever drink alcohol and then drive—even if you do not believe you are drunk—you risk being pulled over for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). This is a criminal offense in Florida.
What Are Florida’s Penalties for DUI?
The first thing to be aware of is that if you are pulled over and asked to take a sobriety test, you must consent. Florida follows the implied consent law which means that by accepting a driver’s license in Florida, you have automatically agreed to sobriety testing. If you refuse, you will lose your license for a year. A first DUI conviction can lead to the following penalties:
- A fine of $250-$500
- 50 hours of community service
- Probation of not more than one year
- Up to six months in jail
- Loss of driver’s license for up to 180 days
- 12 hours of DUI school
- Up to nine months in jail if you are driving drunk with a child in the car
Subsequent arrests result in stiffer penalties, including the installation of an ignition interlock device on your car. If you are caught with even a trace of alcohol in your blood when you are under the legal drinking age of 21, you will lose your license for six months.
While these penalties may seem harsh, they are only part of the story. Having a DUI conviction on your record can affect future employment opportunities, custody or visitation of your children in a divorce, acceptance in college or training programs, and more.
This Is Why You Should Fight the Charges
If you are charged with drunk driving in Florida, it is worth it to call me to discuss a possible defense. Perhaps the breathalyzer was administered incorrectly, or you had another substance in your system that inflated your blood alcohol content reading. Don’t give up too easily when you are arrested for drunk driving. There is too much at stake. Call me at Clifton Law Office as soon as possible.