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Could people go to jail for a DUI in Florida?

Driving while intoxicated in Florida could end with you serving out the terms of your sentence in jail. However, you would not know automatically in most cases whether you might face imprisonment. In most cases, your fate would be in the hands of a judge.

Even if a court decision were to assign jail time to you for your alcohol- or drug-related auto crime, there would probably be significant limits placed on the maximum sentence. As is usual with criminal proceedings, each aspect of your incident would have to be examined and argued before you knew. Furthermore, there are many attributes of the initial accusation which would likely cap your sentence.

By means of a practical example, there are maximum jail time penalties associated with DUI offense convictions, maximums that would be based on your record. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website on driving while intoxicated has a list of these penalties:

  • Fourth convictions: up to five years, or as determined by other laws
  • Third convictions: up to 12 months
  • Second convictions: 9-month maximum
  • Initial convictions: 6-month maximum

The courts would also assess your penalties for OUI convictions from other perspectives. For example, a frequent offender might face mandatory imprisonment. Someone accused of intoxicated driving with a high BAC level or a minor in the vehicle might find the maximum sentence increased. If either of these situations were to apply to your situation, it would probably be in your best interest to avoid a conviction. Of course, you could also protect your future by avoiding an initial conviction, preempting these stringent penalties for recidivism. This is not legal advice, it is meant simply to educate.


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