Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that 3,133 people died from a drunk driving crash in Florida in 2018. Police in West Palm Beach are quick to pull over drivers whom they suspect may be intoxicated, and may rely on visual cues to determine whether or not to initiate a traffic stop. If you’re arrested for DUI, you’re up against a justice system that takes alcohol-related offenses very seriously. Without a knowledgeable DUI lawyer on your side, your chances of receiving a conviction increase significantly, and, with that, your odds of leading a normal life after serving your sentence.
If you already have a DUI conviction, the effects of these penalties can only grow. People with DUIs experience challenges in many crucial parts of their lives, like seeking and keeping employment. Do not hesitate to contact a reputable attorney after a DUI arrest in Palm Beach County. Your future depends on the defense you bring to the charges brought against you.
Possible Jail Time for a DUI Conviction in Florida
As a misdemeanor offense, DUI may lead to jail time. After you’re arrested, you may need to spend a minimum of one night in jail before you’re released. For a first-time DUI, the potential term is up to 6 months, and could be up to 9 months if there were aggravating factors like an elevated BAC above 0.15 or a minor in your vehicle at the time of the stop.
Jail Time is Mandatory for a Second and Third DUI Conviction
If you have a clean record, you might not need to spend more time in jail after a conviction. However, if you are convicted, you will likely face jail time for a second DUI conviction. In that case, you may face a sentence of between 9 and 12 months in jail, with a longer sentence for aggravating factors. If your second DUI took place within 5 years of your first, you would be required to spend 10 days in jail. Forty-eight of those hours must be consecutive.
The jail term for a third DUI in Florida increases even further. Your sentence could last up to 12 months, and you will need to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail.
Multiple DUI Offenders May Serve Time in Prison
Four or more DUI convictions make you a multiple DUI offender in the Florida criminal justice system. As a multiple DUI offender, you may face up to 5 years in prison.
Felony DUI Convictions May Lead to Years in Prison
Prison is also a possibility for a felony DUI conviction. You may be charged with felony DUI for causing a crash that resulted in severe bodily injuries. If you’re convicted, you could serve up to 5 years in prison.
If your DUI resulted in a death, you could face a charge of vehicular homicide or manslaughter. Both of these are second-degree felonies which may lead to 15 years in prison.
Fines for a DUI Conviction Could Cripple You Financially
DUI convictions almost always lead to fines. These fines increase the more DUI convictions you have on your record.
Fines for a First DUI in Florida
Your first DUI conviction may lead to a fine of $500 to $1,000. If there were aggravating factors, these potential fines double to $1,000 and $2,000.
Fines for a Second DUI in Florida
For a second DUI conviction, fines may increase to $1,000 and $2,000. If there were aggravating factors, these again double to $2,000 and $4,000.
Fines for a Third DUI and Felony DUI Convictions
Your third DUI may lead to a fine of $2,000 to $4,000. The minimum DUI fine for a third DUI with aggravating factors is $4,000.
A DUI that results in serious bodily injury may lead to a fine of up to $5,000. If your DUI caused a death, that fine doubles to $10,000.
In addition to these fines, you need to think about your quality of life after a DUI conviction. These fines are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to resuming a normal life after a DUI arrest.
A DUI arrest will show up on a criminal background check and may make employers hesitant to extend an opportunity, which may make your financial troubles snowball into a severe crisis. With proper legal counsel, it may be possible to avoid these fines and other penalties. Depending on your criminal history, it may even be possible to keep your record free of a DUI.
Losing Your Driver’s License Over a DUI May Limit Mobility
Finally, one of the top three worst consequences of one or more DUI convictions is the loss of your driving privileges. Without a valid Florida driver’s license, you may not legally operate a vehicle. This means that you may be forced to rely on friends and relatives to get around. If you’re employed and commute to work, it’s not uncommon to lose your job because you cannot find reliable transportation. It may be possible to apply for a hardship license to get to and from work, school, or other obligations. If you have two or more DUI convictions, you may need to wait a minimum of one year before applying for a hardship license.
Take Your DUI Charge in West Palm Beach Seriously
Not all suspected DUI offenders face criminal penalties for their charges. With the help of an experienced DUI lawyer like Brian P. Gabriel, it may be possible to avoid a criminal record. Find out how he can put his 30 years of experience into a quality defense for your case. Call (561) 622-5575 or complete a contact form for a free consultation.