What are the penalties for drinking and driving in Florida?

The severity of the penalties a driver faces after receiving a DUI depend on the number of drunk driving offenses on his or her record.

In Florida, according to the Florida State Legislature, it is illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level at or above 0.08. A driver who commits this serious crime is subject to penalties like license revocation, fines and jail time. However, the consequences a driver faces after receiving a DUI depend on the number of prior drunk driving offenses on his or her record and his or her BAC level at the time of the arrest.

First offense

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a driver who receives his or her first driving under the influence conviction with a BAC level between 0.08 and 0.14 may have to pay a fine between $500 and $1,000. A driver who is arrested for DUI for the first time may also have to spend up to six months in jail and may have his or her driver's license revoked for up to a year.

Second offense

When a driver receives his or her second DUI conviction for driving with a BAC level between 0.08 and 0.14, the Florida DHSMV states that he or she may have to pay a fine between $1,000 and $2,000 and may have to spend up to nine months in jail. Additionally, a second-time DUI offender, if it is his or her second DUI offense in five years, may have his or her license revoked for five years. However, if it has been more than five years since the driver's last DUI offense, the revocation period remains the same as for a first offense.

Third offense

If a driver receives his or her third DUI conviction for driving with a BAC level between 0.08 and 0.14 within a 10-year period, he or she must spend at least 30 days in jail, states the Florida DHSMV. If it is the driver's third DUI conviction in more than 10 years, the jail term cannot exceed 12 months.

A driver who commits a third DUI offense may also have to pay a fine between $2,000 and $5,000, as long as at least 10 years have passed since the second conviction. Additionally, if a driver commits his or her third DUI offense within 10 years since the last conviction, his or her driver's license will be revoked for at least 10 years. However, a driver who receives his or her third DUI may be eligible for a hardship reinstatement once two years have passed.

Fourth offense and subsequent convictions

When a driver is convicted of drinking and driving in Florida for the fourth time or for any subsequent offenses, the consequences become significantly more severe. If you were arrested for DUI, whether it was for the first time or for the fourth time, speak with an attorney to determine what legal steps you should take next.