Penalties for a Second-Offense DUI in Florida

Find out about the administrative and criminal consequences and penalties of a second DUI in Florida.

By , Attorney · University of San Francisco School of Law

In Florida, DUI repeat offenders face serious penalties. The consequences of a second-offense DUI typically include fines, license suspension, vehicle impoundment, and having to install an ignition interlock device (IID). There's also mandatory jail time for motorists who are convicted of a second DUI in five years.

The penalties for a second-offense DUI are further enhanced where the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15% or more, was involved in an accident that resulted in property damage or someone being injured, or had a passenger under the age of 18.

This article discusses the administrative and criminal penalties of a Florida second-offense DUI.

What Is Considered a Second DUI Under Florida Law?

The "look-back" period is the amount of time that DUI convictions stay on your record for the purpose of determining whether a subsequent DUI will be punished as a second or third offense.

For some sentencing purposes—including determining the fines and maximum jail sentence—a DUI will be counted as a second offense regardless of how long ago the prior DUI occurred. For other purposes, such as the minimum jail time, there's a five-year look-back period.

Criminal Penalties for a 2nd DUI Conviction in Florida

In Florida, most second-offense DUIs are misdemeanors. However, any DUI (including a second) can be charged as a third-degree felony if the driver was involved in an accident where another person suffered "serious bodily injury."

Jail Time for a 2nd DUI Conviction in Florida

The maximum possible jail sentence for a second DUI depends on the circumstances of the case. Here are the maximum jail terms for second-offense DUIs involving the following circumstances:

  • nine months for a standard second DUI
  • one year for a second DUI with a BAC of .15% or more
  • one year for a second DUI with a passenger under 18 years old
  • one year for all DUIs (including a second) if there was an accident involving property damage or minor injuries, and
  • five years for all DUIs where there was an accident involving "serious bodily injury."

For DUI second-offenders with a prior conviction within the last five years, there's a minimum 10-day jail sentence.

Fines for a 2nd DUI Conviction in Florida

A standard second-offense DUI carries fines ranging from $1000 to $2000. But if you get a second DUI and your BAC was .15% or greater or you had a passenger under 18 years old, the fines will be from $2000 to $4000. And for all DUIs where another person suffered "serious bodily injury," fines can be up to $5000.

License Revocation for a 2nd Florida DUI Conviction

Where a driver had a prior DUI conviction within the past five years, a second DUI conviction carries a license suspension of at least five years. The suspension for a second DUI conviction is separate from the administrative suspension discussed below. However, this doesn't mean that a driver will always have to complete the two full suspensions—oftentimes the suspensions will have at least some overlap.

Florida Requires Ignition Interlock Device for DUI Second Offenders

For all second-offense DUIs, IIDs are mandatory for at least one year.

Vehicle Impoundment for a 2nd Florida DUI Conviction

For a second DUI conviction within a five-year period, the driver's car will be impounded for at least 30 days. The 30 days can't overlap with any time that the driver spends in jail for the DUI conviction.

Administrative License-Related Penalties for a 2nd Florida DUI

Although a DUI conviction will result in license suspension, Florida's licensing agency can administratively suspend a driver's license even without a criminal conviction.

Administrative License Suspension for a 2nd Florida DUI Arrest

Generally, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will administratively suspend the license of a motorist who's arrested for driving with a BAC of .08% or more. The suspension will be for one year if the driver's license was previously suspended by the DHSMV for DUI. Drivers who refuse to submit to chemical testing in violation of Florida's "implied consent" laws face an administrative suspension of at least one year (18 months with a prior refusal). Ordinarily, an administrative suspension is possible even if the person isn't ultimately convicted of a DUI in criminal court.

Getting a "Restricted" or "Hardship" License Following a DUI Suspension in Florida

A person whose license is suspended for DUI can often get a "hardship" license (sometimes called a "restricted" license). Hardship licenses are typically for driving only to and from work, school, church, and medical appointments. A person whose license is suspended for driving with a BAC of .08% or above will generally be eligible for a hardship license after completing 30 days of the administrative suspension. For the first 30 days of the suspension—often called the "hard" suspension period—the person won't be allowed to drive at all.

Defenses to a Second DUI Charge in Florida

In Florida, the defenses for a DUI charge depend on the circumstances of the case. However, it's sometimes possible to mount a successful defense if:

  • it's arguable that the person wasn't in actual control of the vehicle at the time of arrest
  • the person's BAC was very close to the legal limit, or
  • the prior conviction was from another state and the laws of that state are dissimilar to those of Florida.

But in all cases, it's important to have an attorney look at your case. An experienced DUI attorney will have a good idea of what defenses might work.

Get Legal Advice

Florida DUI law is complicated and the facts of each case are different. It's always a good idea to get in touch with an experienced Florida DUI attorney as soon as possible after being arrested for or charged with a DUI.

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