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What are the penalties for a DUI conviction in Florida?

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Things to remember...
  • Florida only has maximum prison sentences for a DUI, but they do have minimum license suspension periods
  • Florida requires an SR-22 document for drivers who have had a DUI which can be expensive to add to an insurance policy
  • In addition to basic DUI chargers, drivers who have a high BAC or have a minor in the car will receive a harsher punishment

Drivers who are driving while intoxicated in Florida will receive a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. The state requires all drivers who have received a DUI to complete minimum punishments.

In general, drivers who have a Florida DUI will need to give up their license and will be required to spend time in jail for each DUI they have.

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Legalities of a DUI in Florida

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To determine whether a person is driving under the influence, the police will check their BAC (blood alcohol content). Florida’s legal limit is .08.

If a person has a legal limit of .15 or higher, they will be required to have a harsher punishment under the Florida high BAC laws.

A DUI charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Florida. The classification of the crime is usually related to the number of times a person has had a DUI in the state.

In addition, a person may receive harsher punishment if they have a minor in the car while they are driving under the influence.

– Does Florida require an Interlock device?

An Interlock device is used inside of a vehicle. For the driver to start the vehicle, they have to blow into the device.

If the person blows above the set limit, they will not be able to start the car and they will also have to periodically blow into it while they are driving to make sure they are not driving under the influence.

In Florida, drivers who have had a DUI will need to have an Interlock device for a period of up to one year after they have had their license reinstated.

One of the conditions of reinstatement is to agree to use the device and drivers are required to pay for it from an approved installer.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles maintains a list of mechanics who are authorized to install the Interlock devices for drivers who have had a DUI charge.

– Will DUI offenders need SR-22?

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An SR-22 addendum is a document that drivers can add to their insurance. The SR-22 guarantees the driver is going to not let their insurance lapse by requiring the driver to pay a large deposit.

If the policy does cancel for any reason, the SR-22 is immediately canceled and is rushed to the DMV where the driver’s license will be suspended again.

Drivers who have had a DUI in Florida must have an SR-22 on their policy for, at least, one year depending on how many DUI charges they have. To find an insurance company that provides SR-22 coverage for Florida, drivers need to shop around and get quotes.

Coverage for SR-22 can be costly and coverage after a DUI can be difficult to get so drivers need to keep that in mind while they are getting quotes.

– Is mandatory treatment part of the DUI punishment?

While Florida does not require drivers who have had a DUI to undergo mandatory treatment, they do require the driver to complete community service for every DUI offense the driver receives.

In addition, drivers may consider treatment for alcohol treatment if they feel they have a problem.

Judges have the ability to suggest mandatory addiction treatment instead of jail time for drivers who have received a misdemeanor DUI in Florida.

DUI Offense Levels in Florida

A look-back period is the amount of time the court can allow a DUI to count toward a driver’s total DUI charges.

In Florida, the lookback period for a DUI is 10 years except for drivers who have had four or more DUI charges. They have an unlimited look-back period that allows the court to count any DUI charge they have ever received.

Drivers in Florida who have received a DUI may apply for a hardship license. The license allows them to drive to and from work as well as to and from necessary medical appointments and requires drivers to have an Interlock device in their vehicle.

Drivers who have received four or more DUI charges are not eligible for the hardship license.

When a person is caught driving under the influence in Florida, their car will be impounded for set periods of time depending on how many DUIs they have.

If a driver can prove their family has no other transportation, the court will waive the impound requirement. A driver must have a sober, licensed individual pick the car up from the scene when they get the DUI.

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–DUI #1

The punishment for a first DUI is:

  • 180 – 365 days of license revocation
  • Six months or less in prison or nine months for high BAC
  • $500 – $1,000 for a DUI and $1,000-$2,000 for a high BAC DUI
  • Car impounded for 10 days
  • 50 hours of community service or $10 per hour of community service paid with fines

If a driver has received their first DUI, it will be considered a misdemeanor. Drivers who have a DUI with a minor in the car are treated the same way as drivers who have a high BAC.

–DUI #2

The second DUI a driver receives will vary by the lookback period. The second offense is still a misdemeanor. If a driver receives their second DUI in a period of five years they will:

  • Lose their license for five years
  • Spend nine months or less in prison or 12 months or less for a high BAC
  • Pay $1,000 – $2,000 in fines or $2,000 – $4,000 in fines for a high BAC
  • Have their car impounded for 30 days

Drivers who have not had a DUI for more than five years will be subject to lower punishments. If it has been more than five years since a driver received their first offense, the driver will only lose their license for 180 days or less.

A driver will only need to spend 10 days in prison if it has been more than five years since their last DUI.

–DUI #3

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A third DUI in Florida is considered a third-degree felony. The punishment changes for the driver and they will not be able to have a hardship license at all. Drivers who have a third DUI will be required to pay higher fines.

The suspension period for a third DUI is 10 years with eligibility for a hardship license after two years.

Drivers will need to spend between one month and 12 months in prison and their vehicle will be impounded for 90 days. The fines range from $2,000 to $5,000 with a minimum of $4,000 for a high BAC.

–DUI #4 or More

Drivers who have a fourth DUI in Florida will not be eligible for a license for the rest of their life and will have their car impounded for 90 days. The minimum fine is $2,000.

Drivers will spend no more than five years in prison for their fourth DUI.

A fifth offense and any offense after is treated the same as a fourth, but the fines will increase depending on what the judge believes is fair.

Drivers will not ever spend more than five years in prison for a DUI. Drivers who have a fifth DUI or more will have a lifetime lookback period Florida can use to “count” toward the DUI charges.

Overcoming a DUI

While many drivers may feel hopeless when they receive a DUI because of the high fines, strict punishments and difficult path to reinstatement, it is important they know there’s hope.

One of the easiest things drivers can do to help reduce the costs is getting comparison quotes on SR-22 insurance.

Drivers who have had a DUI do have a chance to live a normal life again as long as they complete the punishment they have and obey the laws of the road once they get their license back.

Use our FREE quote tool to compare auto insurance rates today!

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