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DUIs in Florida

No matter where you are in the nation, a DUI is a serious charge and it will impact your future. Before you are charged with driving under the influence, it is good to know some basic information about what a DUI charge on your record might mean for you right now and in the future.

The state of Florida has strict laws when it comes to driving under the influence and the severity of those laws increases with the number of convictions and the circumstances of each conviction. Operating a vehicle is prohibited if the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. The second DUI conviction is harsher than the first and the third is harsher than the second, but subsequent convictions are generally treated as though they are a third conviction. The severity of the conviction will generally depend on whether or not the BAC of the driver was above or below .15% and/or the presence of a minor.

First conviction

· Below .15% - If you are found with a BAC below .15% you may be sentenced with up to 6 months in jail and will be fined between $500 and $1000. The vehicle will be impounded for 10 days unless it belongs to a family that has no other form of transportation.

· Above .15% - If your BAC exceeded .15% or there was a minor in the vehicle, you may be charged with up to 9 months in jail and possibly a fine of no less than $500 and no more than $1000.

Second Conviction

· Below .15% - If you are found with a BAC below .15% you may be sentenced with up to 9 months in jail and will be fined between $1000 and $2000. If your second conviction happens within 5 years of your first conviction, you will be imprisoned for 10 days and your license will be revoked for 5 years. The vehicle will be impounded for 30 days unless it belongs to a family that has no other form of transportation.

· Above .15% - If your BAC exceeded .15% or there was a minor in the vehicle, you may be charged with up to 12 months in jail and possibly a fine of no less than $2000 and no more than $4000.

Third Conviction

· Below .15% - If you are found with a BAC below .15% you may be sentenced with up to 12 months in jail and will be fined between $2000 and $5000. If your second conviction happens within 5 years of your first conviction, you will be imprisoned for 30 days and your license will be revoked for 5 years. The vehicle will be impounded for 90 days unless it belongs to a family that has no other form of transportation.

· Above .15% - If your BAC exceeded .15% or there was a minor in the vehicle, you may be charged with up to 12 months in jail and possibly a fine of no less than $4000. Your license will be suspended for 10 years.

Fourth Conviction

· You may have to serve up to 5 years in jail. Your license will be revoked for life and you will be fined no less than $2000.

In addition to the charges of each offense, an interlock ignition device will be installed in your vehicle. This device measures your BAC and it will prevent you from starting your car if you have a measureable amount of alcohol in your system. You will may also be required to complete Florida DUI school. The sentences for DUIs in Florida are significant, but choosing to endanger your own life and the lives of others by driving while intoxicated is a very serious choice. If you do find yourself in a situation wherein you may possibly be faced with a DUI conviction, you may want to consider seeking the assistance of a legal professional.

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