There are many types of DUI charges possible in Florida. Being charged with a DUI that results in property damage is not the worst one, yet it can have devastating consequences nonetheless. Florida Statute § 316.193.3C1 describes harsh penalties for DUI cases that result in property damage. Typically, this occurs as a result of a car accident. Under this statute, this specific crime is committed when:
- A person drives a vehicle, or is found to be in actual physical control of a vehicle, within the state of Florida;
- And the person is either:
- Under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical or controlled substance, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired; or
- Has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher; or
- Has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
- And causes damage, directly or indirectly, to the property of another person.
In the context of this law, “actual physical control” means a person must be physically inside a motor vehicle. Even if you are not driving your car, you can be charged with DUI if you have the capacity to drive it. If you fall asleep in your parked car, you can still be charged with a DUI, especially if any previous property damage occurred.
A Misdemeanor Crime
DUI with property damage is a first degree misdemeanor crime for which you can receive up to a year in jail, steep fines, and license suspension. Even if the damage you inflicted was to your own car, from hitting a street lamp or a tree, you can still be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. On top of that, you can face civil litigation for damaging another’s property.
Penalties for a first-time DUI with property damage are essentially the same as those for first time DUIs, with the addition of having to pay for the property damage you caused. You can expect:
- To spend up to a year in the county jail
- License suspension for at least 6 months
- DUI school attendance
- Possible community service
- A fine of up to $1,000 for each count of DUI with property damage (if you hit more than one car during the accident, you can incur more than one count of DUI with property damage)
- To pay restitution. The Court may order restitution to compensate the person whose property was damaged. Oftentimes, your insurance company covers these costs with adequate coverage.
The best way to fight a DUI charge with property damage is by acting with urgency. The Florida DMV requires a hearing request within 10 days of your arrest or you lose your license. The sooner you reach out to a DUI with property damage lawyer in West Palm Beach, the better off your defense will be. Attorney Brian Gabriel is passionate about attentively serving his clients in Palm Beach County with personalized attention. Consult with him today for free by calling 561-622-5575.