DUI with Property Damage
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.
DUI with Property Damage is 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. If you are convicted, your car insurance rates will likely increase. In some cases, your insurance company might not want to insure you any longer, as you may be too high of a risk. People with DUIs on their record must often obtain SR-22 insurance, which is costlier than ordinary coverage.
Even if the damage you inflicted to a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol was to your own car, you can still be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor offense. If your DUI with property damage affected another car, you could face civil litigation intended to recover the compensation necessary to fix the victim’s vehicle.
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.
Call a Knowledgeable DUI Lawyer Today
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 and has more than 30 years of experience. Receive a free consultation when you call 561-622-5575 or complete our contact form.