The Florida criminal courts see a large number of driving under the influence (DUI) cases every year. People get arrested because they cause crashes or fail a breath test during a traffic stop. The factors that led to someone’s arrest and the impact that an alleged impaired driving incident has on others can both influence the charges and penalties possible in a Florida DUI case.
The most basic DUI cases involve technical infractions as opposed to harm to other people. As a result, someone accused of a drunk driving offense that did not lead to injury or death might be dismissive about the pending charges initially, given that there was “no harm done.” However, if they plead guilty, the courts can impose a sentence that would include possible jail time and large fines, as well as a suspension of their driver’s license.
Suspensions can last for years
Barring a scenario that involves harm to others, the most important consideration when estimating the penalties for a DUI offense is the record of the person accused. The law in Florida allows the courts to impose increasing penalties for each subsequent infraction after someone’s first conviction.
A first DUI in Florida could lead to someone losing their driver’s license for between 180 days and a year. A second DUI conviction within five years of the first could lead to five years without a license. Drivers can sometimes secure a hardship license after the first year without a license. A second DUI more than five years after the first has the same 180-day to one-year driver’s license revocation penalty.
A third DUI conviction with 10 years of someone’s second conviction can lead to a 10-year revocation period, and that is the minimum. A fourth DUI conviction at any point in someone’s life can lead to a lifetime driver’s license revocation.
The only sure way to eliminate the driver’s license revocation penalty risk in a DUI case in Florida is to defend against charges successfully and avoid a conviction. A guilty plea does little to protect someone from licensing consequences and other penalties. Reviewing the evidence that the state has with an attorney can help someone settle on the best defense strategy given their circumstances.