Florida Drunk Driving Laws, Penalties, and Consequences

Learn what constitutes a DUI in Florida and what penalties it may carry.

Florida prohibits driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

Florida defines “under the influence” as impaired to the extent that the person is deprived of full possession of normal faculties. However, a per se DUI requires only a BAC of .08% or more. The BAC threshold is reduced to .04% if the licensee is driving a commercial vehicle. (Get an idea of how many drinks it takes to reach a certain blood alcohol level.)

DUI Penalties in Florida

The penalties of a Florida DUI are generally governed by the number of prior offenses the offender has. However, the recentness of the prior offenses and the circumstances of the current DUI can also affect the penalties. For instance, a DUI that involves a minor passenger or a BAC of .15% or greater is considered an “aggravated DUI” and will result in more severe consequences. Here are the possible penalties a driver faces if convicted of a first, second, or third DUI.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

Misdemeanor 3rd Offense (no priors within 10 years)

Felony 3rd Offense (prior offense within 10 years)

Jail

Up to 6 months (up to 9 months if aggravated)

Up to 9 months (up to 12 months if aggravated)

Up to 12 months

30 days to 5 years

Fines

$500 to $1,000 ($1,000 to $2,000 if aggravated)

$1,000 to $2,000 ($2,000 to $4,000) if aggravated)

$2,000 to $5,000 ($4,000 to $5,000 if aggravated)

$2,000 to $5,000 ($4,000 to $5,000 if aggravated)

License Revocation

180 days to 1 year

180 days to 1 year

180 days to 1 year

10 years minimum

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

6 months if aggravated (optional if BAC under .15%)

2 years

2 years

2 years

First offenses. A first-offense DUI results in a one-year probation and 50 hours of community service. The offender can pay $10 in lieu of each hour of community service. The driven vehicle during the offense will also be impounded for ten days. First offenders may be eligible for a diversion program. Diversion participants generally can avoid many of the consequences resulting from a DUI conviction.

Second offense in five years. A second-offense DUI that occurs within five years of the prior will result in a mandatory ten days in jail and a 30-day vehicle impoundment. The driver’s license will also be revoked for at least five years. A restricted license may be available after one year with enrollment in a substance abuse education course.

Third offense in ten years. A third-offense DUI that occurs within ten years of a prior generally carries a minimum 30 days in jail, 90-day vehicle impoundment, and a minimum ten-year driver’s license revocation. The driver can petition for a restricted license after 24 months but must remain in a DUI supervision program to be eligible.

Accidents. DUI incidents that result in injuries to other people or damage to property will also include the following penalties:

  • Damage to property. First-degree misdemeanor, up to $1,000 fine, and up to one year jail
  • Serious injury. Third-degree felony, four to five years prison, up to $5,000 fine, and minimum three-year driver’s license revocation
  • Second-degree felony, four to 15 years prison, up to $10,000 fine, permanent driver’s license revocation.

Probation conditions. All DUI offenders must complete a term of monthly-reporting probation and enroll in a substance abuse course. Time served in inpatient rehabilitation can be counted toward required jail time. Failure to complete the substance abuse course or any required treatment will result in driver’s license revocation. The court can also order a sobriety and drug monitoring program, which might include random testing and monitoring.

Implied Consent and Refusing a Blood or Breath Test in Florida

Florida’s “implied consent” laws require all drivers lawfully arrested for a DUI to submit to a blood, urine, or breath test. Drivers who unlawfully refuse testing face a one-year driver’s license revocation.

A second-offense refusal will result in license revocation for 18 months. Additionally, a second-offense breath test refusal will result in a first-degree misdemeanor charge, which carries a fine up to $1,000 and a maximum one year in jail.

A driver who submits to testing and produces a BAC of at least .08% will face license suspension for six months on a first occurrence and one year on any subsequent occurrence.

Underage DUI

Drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from having a BAC of .02% or greater. An underage DUI violation is not a criminal offense but will result in license suspension and other requirements.

Refusal. An underage driver who refuses to submit to alcohol or drug testing will be suspended for one year or 18 months for a subsequent offense.

Test failures. An underage driver who provides a BAC sample of .02% or more will be suspended for six months or one year for a subsequent offense. Completion of a DUI education program will also be required if the BAC was .05% or more.

Plea Bargaining in Florida DUI Cases

For a first-offense DUI in Florida, pleading a DUI done to a lesser offense like a “wet reckless” is possible. However, subsequent violations and DUIs involving manslaughter or a BAC of .15% or more cannot be plead down or reduced.

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