If your arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is a first offense, you may think you only have to pay a fine and you can put the whole incident behind you.
In the state of Florida, a DUI charge is more complicated than that. The penalties for a first conviction can include driver’s license revocation, possible imprisonment and more.
The fine for a first DUI conviction is between $500 and $1,000 and the court may assess additional penalties. If your blood alcohol level was .15% or higher or there was a minor in the vehicle with you, the fine increases to a maximum of $2,000.
Time behind bars
For a first offense, imprisonment of up to six months is possible. However, the court has discretion in terms of sentencing. For example, the judge may order you to serve your sentence in an alcohol abuse treatment program with participation credited toward your prison term.
Loss of driving privileges
If you refuse to take a breath, blood or urine test, the law enforcement officer who stops you on suspicion of DUI will take your license away immediately and issue you a temporary permit, which is valid for 10 days. During that time you must schedule an administrative hearing to try to save your license. Keep in mind that for a first offense, and a BAC of .08% or above, you face a license suspension of up to six months. License revocation is possible for a minimum of 180 days.
Driver’s license reinstatement cannot occur until you complete DUI school. With proof of successful completion, you may qualify for hardship license reinstatement. Your attorney can develop a defense strategy and help you begin what can be a complicated process of getting your driving privileges restored.