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Florida DUI Laws

Under the Florida DUI laws, a DUI is one offense that can be proved in one of two ways: drunk driving can be proved by impairment of normal faculties, or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08% or above. Florida DUI lawyers know that penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven.

The penalties and consequences for a Florida DUI arrest are serious and far-reaching. They include fines, jail, and administrative license suspensions from the court. They also can include license suspensions, separate and apart from those imposed by the court, which are imposed by FDHSMV. Detailed information about each of these consequences follows below.

However, if you or someone you care about has been charged with a DUI, the most important thing to do is to contact experienced Florida DUI lawyers for a free consultation right away.

FLORIDA DUI FAQ

What Can I Expect After a Florida DUI Arrest?

When someone is arrested for a Florida DUI, there are really two separate cases that arise. The first is the court case where a person faces criminal charges, fines, and jail time. The second is a case with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles regarding your driving privileges.

When Can I Be Released From Jail After a Florida DUI Arrest?

Conditions for Release of Persons Arrested for DUI-s. 316.193 (9), F.S.

  • The person is no longer under the influence and the person’s normal faculties are no longer impaired
  • The person’s blood/breath alcohol level is lower than 0.05; or
  • Eight hours have elapsed from the time the person was arrested.

To review the complete statutory language, please refer to section 316.193 (9), Florida Statutes.

What Is A Florida DUI Misdemeanor Conviction?

DUI Misdemeanor Conviction: (Accident Involving Property Damage or Personal Injury)-s. 316.193 (3), F.S.

Any person who causes property damage or personal injury to another while driving under the influence is guilty of a First Degree Misdemeanor (not more than $1,000 fine or 1-year imprisonment).

What is the Florida DUI "Ten Day" Rule?

Florida DUI lawyers who defend DUI, DWI, or drunk driving cases in Florida should know about the "Ten Day" Rule. When someone is arrested for a Florida DUI, there are really two separate cases that arise: the court case, where a person's liberty is at stake, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles case.

If you have been arrested for Florida DUI, and you refused to take a breath, blood or urine test, OR if you took the test and your result is 0.08% or higher, you have only 10 days to request a special hearing with the FDHSMV to save your license. Failure to timely request a hearing will result in a penalty of at least a six-month suspension (and as much as an 18-month suspension) of your Florida driving privileges.

What Kind of Fines Am I Facing if I'm Convicted of a Florida DUI?

Fine Schedule 316.193(2)(a)-(b), F.S.

  • First Conviction: Not less than $250, or more than $1000. With Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $500, or more than $1,000.
  • Second Conviction: Not less than $1000, or more than $2,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.
  • Third Conviction More than 10 years: Not less than $2,000, or more than $5,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $2,000.
  • Third Conviction Within 10 years: Not more than $5,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle. Not less than $2,000.
  • Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not less than $1,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle. Not less than $2,000.

Am I Required To Do Community Service if I'm Convicted of a Florida DUI?

Community Service - s. 316.193 (6)(a), F.S.

For the first conviction, the court shall order the defendant to participate in public service or a community work project for a minimum of 50 hours. The court may order a defendant to pay a fine of $10 for each hour of public service or community work otherwise required only if the court finds that the residence or location of the defendant at the time public service or community work is required or the defendant’s employment obligations would create an undue hardship for the defendant. 

Will I Be on Probation if I'm Convicted of a Florida DUI?

Probation - s. 316.193 (5)(6), F.S.

A first conviction for a Florida DUI includes a  total period of probation and incarceration that may not exceed 1 year.

Will I Go To Jail If I Am Convicted of a Florida DUI?

Imprisonment- s. 316.193 (2)(a) 2, 4(b), (6)(j), F.S.

At court's discretion, sentencing terms may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program, credited toward term of imprisonment.

  • First Conviction: Not more than 6 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 9 months.
  • Second Conviction: Not more than 9 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 12 months. If second conviction within 5 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.
  • Third Conviction: If third conviction within 10 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive. If third conviction more than 10 years, imprisonment for not more than 12 months.
  • Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not more than 5 years or as provided in s.775.084, Florida Statutes, as habitual/violent offender.

Will My Car Be Impounded if I'm Convicted of a Florida DUI?

Impoundment of Immobilization of Vehicle - s. 316.193 (6), F.S.

Unless the family of the defendant has no other transportation:

  • First conviction = Vehicle impounded for 10 days;
  • Second conviction within five years of a prior conviction= Vehicle impounded for 30 days;
  • Third conviction within 10 years of a prior conviction = Vehicle  Impounded for 90 days.

Impoundment or immobilization must not occur concurrently with incarceration. The court may dismiss the order of impoundment of any vehicles owned by the defendant if they are operated solely by employees of the defendant or any business owned by the defendant. Impound fees can include towing and storage.

To review the complete statutory language, please refer to section 316.193 (6), Florida Statutes.

What Is A Florida DUI Felony Conviction?

DUI Felony Conviction: (Repeat Offenders or Accidents Involving Serious Bodily Injury)-s. 316.193 (2),(3) F.S.

  • Any person convicted of a third DUI within 10 years or a fourth or subsequent DUI commits a Third Degree Felony (not more than $5,000 fine and/or 5 years imprisonment).
  • Any person who causes serious bodily injury while driving under the influence is guilty of a Third Degree Felony (not more than $5,000 fine and/or 5 years imprisonment) or if habitual/violent felony offender as provided in s. 775.084, F.S.

To review the complete statutory language, please refer to sections 316.193 (2)-(3) and/or 775.084, Florida Statutes.

What Happens if I Am Convicted of Killing Someone While Under the Influence in Florida?

Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide - s. 316.193 (3), F.S.

  • DUI/Manslaughter: Second Degree Felony (not more than $10,000 fine and/or 15 years imprisonment).
  • DUI Manslaughter/Leaving the Scene: A driver convicted of DUI Manslaughter who knew/should have known the accident occurred; and failed to give information or render aid is guilty of a First Degree Felony (not more than $10,000 fine and/or 30 years imprisonment).
  • Vehicular Homicide: Second Degree Felony (not more than $10,000 fine and/or 15 years imprisonment).
  • Vehicular Homicide/Leaving the Scene: A driver convicted of vehicular homicide who left the scene of an accident is guilty of a First Degree Felony (nor more than $10,000 fine and/or 30 years imprisonment).

Will I lose My License If I Am Convicted of Florida DUI?

  • First offense without bodily injury: Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum one year.
  • First offense with bodily injury: Minimum three years revocation.
  • Second offense within five years from prior conviction: Minimum five years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after one year.
  • Second offense five or more years after first conviction, the same revocation periods as first offense apply.
  • Third offense within 10 years of the second conviction: Minimum 10 years revocation. May be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after two years.
  • Third offense 10 or more years after the second conviction, the same revocation periods as first offense apply.
  • Fourth conviction, regardless of when prior convictions occurred: Mandatory permanent revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after five years. If incarcerated, the revocation period begins upon date of release from incarceration.
  • DUI manslaughter: Mandatory permanent revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after five years, if there are no prior DUI related convictions.
  • Manslaughter, DUI serious bodily injury or vehicular homicide convictions: Minimum three years revocation. DUI serious bodily injury having prior DUI conviction is the same as second – fourth bullet above.

Will I Be Able To Drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) if I Am Convicted of a Florida DUI?

Persons who are licensed to operate a CMV may be disqualified from operating a CMV for one year in several instances. Some of these disqualifying instances include:

  • Conviction for driving a CMV with a blood alcohol level of .04 or above;
  • Driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance or refusing to submit to a test to determine the alcohol concentration while driving a CMV;
  • Driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance; or driving a CMV while in possession of a controlled substance.

NOTE: There are no provisions for persons disqualified from operating a CMV to obtain a hardship (business or employment) license to operate a CMV, and the information above is in addition to any provisions of section 316.193, Florida Statutes, for DUI convictions. Second or subsequent convictions of any of the above offenses arising out of separate incidents will result in a permanent disqualification from operating a CMV.

Can I Still Drive To Work if I Have Been Convicted of a Florida DUI?

Business or Employment Reinstatement

  • Suspension for driving with an unlawful alcohol level of .08 or above, or refusal to submit to breath, urine, or blood test, must show proof of enrollment in DUI school and apply for an administrative hearing for possible hardship reinstatement. For unlawful alcohol level, must serve 30 days without driver license or permit prior to eligibility for hardship reinstatement. For first refusal, must serve 90 days without driver license or permit prior to eligibility for hardship reinstatement. No hardship reinstatement for two or more refusals.
  • Suspension for persons under the age of 21 driving with a breath alcohol level of .02 or above, must complete a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course before hardship reinstatement. Persons with BAL of .05 or higher, must complete DUI program prior to eligibility for hardship reinstatement. Must serve 30 days without driver license or permit prior to eligibility for hardship reinstatement.

Individuals convicted of a DUI, may have their driver license privilege reinstated for business or employment purposes. To apply for a reinstatement, please see the following guidelines.

  • First conviction, must complete DUI school and apply to FLHSMV for hearing for possible hardship reinstatement. Mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) for up to six months for BAL of .15.
  • Subsequent convictions, no hardship license except as provided below. Mandatory IID for one to two years if BAL is greater than .15.
  • Second conviction within five years, five-year revocation. May apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after one year. Must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period. Failure to report for counseling or treatment results in cancellation of the hardship license. Applicant may not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement. Mandatory IID for one to two years if BAL is greater than .15.
  • Third conviction within 10 years of a prior conviction, 10-year revocation. May apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after two years. Must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period. Failure to report for counseling or treatment results in the cancellation of the hardship license. Applicant may not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement. Mandatory IID for two years.
  • DUI manslaughter with no prior DUI-related conviction, permanent revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after five years have expired from date of revocation or from date of term of incarceration, provided the following requirements have been met:
    • Applicant has not been arrested for a drug-related offense for at least five years prior to the hearing;
    • Applicant has not driven a motor vehicle without a license for at least five years prior to the hearing;
    • Applicant has been alcohol and drug-free for at least five years prior to the hearing; and
    • Applicant must complete a DUI school and be supervised under the DUI program for the remainder of the revocation period. Failure to report for counseling or treatment results in cancellation of the hardship license.

If these requirements have been met, an IID is required for two years.

  • Manslaughter, DUI serious bodily injury, or vehicular homicide convictions, three-year revocation. May immediately apply for hardship reinstatement hearing. Must complete DUI school or advanced driver improvement course.

To review the complete statutory language, please refer to sections 322.271 and 322.28, Florida Statutes.

Do I Need To Go To Florida DUI School?

DUI School Requirements - s. 316.193 F.S., s. 322.271, F.S., s. 322.291, F.S.

  • First Conviction: Must complete DUI school before hardship reinstatement. Customers who wait out revocation period before reinstatement need only show proof of enrollment or completion to become re-licensed. If customer enrolls and is reinstated after revocation period expires, failure to complete the DUI school within 90 days after reinstatement will result in license cancellation; the driver cannot then be re-licensed until DUI school is completed.
  • Second Conviction in 5 Years (5-Year Revocation) or Third Conviction in 10 Years (10-Year Revocation): Customer must complete DUI school following conviction. See requirements in 13C and 13D respectively.
  • DUI Manslaughter With No Prior DUI Related Conviction (Permanent Revocation): Must complete DUI school before hardship reinstatement.
  • Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide: (Minimum 3 year Revocation): See 13F
  • Customers Who Wait Until Revocation Period Expires: Must enroll in DUI school and pass the driver license examinations to be re-licensed. Failure to complete the school within 90 days after such reinstatement will result in cancellation of the license until the school is completed.
  • Reckless Driving: If the court has reasonable cause to believe that the use of alcohol, chemical or controlled substances contributed to a violation of reckless driving, the person convicted of reckless driving must complete DUI school if ordered by the court.
  • Treatment: Treatment resulting from a psychosocial evaluation may not be waived without a supporting psychosocial evaluation by a court appointed agency with access to the original evaluation.

What is Considered a Florida DUI Chemical Test Refusal?

  • Saying "No" to the chemical test is considered refusal
  • Not providing sufficient samples required for the test can be considered refusal
  • Not stating a clear "yes" or "no" when asked to take the chemical test can be considered refusal
  • Becoming abusive or argumentative to the arresting officer can be considered refusal

What Happens if I Refuse a Florida DUI Chemical Test?

First FL DUI Chemical Refusal

Refusal to submit a breath, urine, or blood test can be used as evidence in the Florida DUI criminal proceedings.  For a first DUI, refusal of a chemical test can result in a one-year suspension of the person's driver's license.

For commercial driver license holders, a first-time refusal can result in a one-year disqualification. 

Second FL DUI Chemical Refusal

If this is a second or subsequent refusal, a conviction can result in an 18-month suspension of a first-degree misdemeanor, up to $1000 in fines, and up to one-year imprisonment. 

For commercial driver license holders, a second or subsequent refusal can result in permanent disqualification with no hardship reinstatement permitted. 

Can I Be Forced to Give Blood During A Florida DUI Arrest?

Forceful Withdrawal of Blood

If necessary, blood may be withdrawn in Florida DUI cases if serious bodily injury or death has occurred. Even if the driver refuses, blood can be withdrawn by authorized medical personnel with the use of reasonable force by the arresting officer.

Unconscious Withdrawal of Blood

Any person who is incapable of refusal by reason of unconsciousness or other mental or physical conditions shall be considered not to have refused the blood test and a blood test will be administered whether or not the person is told that a refusal will result in the suspension of driving privileges. 

What Happens if I Am Caught Driving With a Suspended License in Florida?

Anyone whose driver license is suspended for Unlawful Alcohol Level, or revoked for DUI, DUI Manslaughter or Vehicular Homicide, or for any other offense ordered by the court, and causes death or serious bodily injury to another person by operating a motor vehicle in a careless or negligent way is guilty of a 3rd-degree felony.

Penalties include imprisonment of not more than 5 years, a fine not to exceed $5,000, or both. 

What Happens If I Am Under 21 and Pulled Over For DUI in Florida?

Persons Under the Age of 21 for Driving With an Alcohol Level .02 or Above

Section 322.2616, Florida Statutes, authorizes law enforcement officers having probable cause to believe that a motor vehicle is being driven by or is in the actual physical control of a person who is under the age of 21 while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or who has any alcohol level may lawfully detain this person and may request them to submit to a test to determine the alcohol level. This violation is neither a traffic infraction nor a criminal offense, nor does being detained under this statute constitute an arrest.

  • First Suspension for Persons Under the Age of 21 With An Alcohol Level .02 or above: 6 months.
  • Second or Subsequent Suspensions 1 year.
  • First Suspension for Refusal to Submit to Breath Test: 1 year.
  • Second or Subsequent Suspensions for Refusal: 18 months.
  • The suspension is effective immediately. If the breath or blood alcohol level is .05 or higher the suspension shall remain in effect until completion of a substance abuse evaluation and course. The officer will issue the driver a temporary permit effective 12 hours after issuance which is valid for 10 days, provided the driver is otherwise eligible.

What Are the Driving Suspension Laws for a Florida DUI?

  • First Suspension for Driving With an Unlawful Alcohol Level (.08 or above): 6 months.
  • Second or Subsequent Suspensions for Driving With an Unlawful Alcohol Level (.08 or above): 1 year.
  • First Suspension for Refusal to Submit to Breath, Urine, or Blood Test: 1 year.
  • Second or Subsequent Suspensions for Refusal: 18 months.
  • The suspension is effective immediately The officer will issue the driver a temporary permit valid for 10 days from the date of arrest, provided the driver is otherwise eligible.

What Are the Commerical Driving Suspension Laws for a Florida DUI?

  • First Disqualification for Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle With an Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level (.04 or above): 6 months disqualification.
  • Second or Subsequent Disqualification of Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle With an Unlawful Alcohol Level (.04 or above): 1-year disqualification.
  • First Disqualification for Refusal to Submit to Breath, Urine or Blood Test Arising from the Operation of a Commercial Motor Vehicle: 1-year disqualification.
  • Second or Subsequent Disqualification for Refusal to Submit to Breath, Urine, or Blood Test Arising from the Operation of a Commercial Motor Vehicle: permanently disqualified.
  • The disqualification is effective immediately upon refusal of the breath, urine, or blood test or determination that the driver has a blood-alcohol level of .08 or above, while operating or in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle. The officer will issue the driver a temporary permit which is valid for 10 days from the date of arrest or disqualification, provided the driver is otherwise eligible. However, the permit does not authorize the operation of a commercial motor vehicle for the first 24 hours of disqualification.

Can I Get My Driver's License Reinstated after a Florida DUI?

Business or Employment Reinstatement:

  1. Suspension for Driving With an Unlawful Alcohol Level of .08 or above or Refusal: Must show proof of enrollment in DUI school and apply for an administrative hearing for possible hardship reinstatement. For unlawful alcohol level must serve 30 days without driver's license or permit prior to eligibility for hardship reinstatement. For first refusal must serve 90 days without driver's license or permit prior to eligibility for hardship reinstatement. No hardship reinstatement for two or more refusals.

  2. Suspension - Persons Under Age of 21 Driving With a Breath Alcohol Level of .02 or above: Must complete a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course before hardship reinstatement. .05 or higher must complete a DUI program prior to eligibility for hardship reinstatement. Must serve 30 days without driver's license or permit prior to eligibility for hardship reinstatement.

Hardship License Prohibited:

  1. Florida law prohibits any hardship reinstatement upon 2nd or subsequent suspension for test refusal or if the driver has been convicted of (DUI) section 316.193, F.S., two or more times.

  2. Persons disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle cannot obtain a hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Can I Get a Florida DUI Removed From My Criminal Record?

Florida law prohibits a person from expunging a DUI conviction from his or her criminal record. It is vital to contact experienced Florida DUI lawyers if you have been arrested for DUI.

Local Florida DUI Attorneys