Drinking and driving is never a good idea, but it’s an especially poor choice now that Florida law enforcement officials are cracking down on offenders. If you find yourself in a position where you have been charged with a DUI in Florida, you need to be aware of the consequences that can follow from this conviction. This is not an issue to take lightly, and the punishment you receive could negatively affect you for the rest of your life. Below, we’ll take a look at just what can happen when you’re charged with a DUI.
For First Time Offenders
Just because you’re a first time DUI offender in Florida doesn’t mean that you will get off easy, but your exact punishment will depend on your blood alcohol content (BAC). If your BAC is below 15% at the time of your arrest, the maximum punishment you can face is a six-month jail term, a 180 day suspension of your driver’s license, and a $1,000 fine. However, these consequences go up if you are arrested with a BAC of higher than 15%. For that, you face up to nine months in prison, a 180 day suspension of your driver’s license, and a $2,000 fine.
For Repeat Offenders
Things get considerably worse for repeat offenders. First of all, it’s important to note that after two DUI convictions any subsequent convictions will be considered a felony. This means that you could receive a prison sentence (which is not the case for first time offenders) of up to five years, a minimum five years suspension on your driver’s license, and a larger fine. Becoming a convicted felon also means that your right to vote, buy guns, and obtain a passport will be jeopardized.
Being convicted of a DUI can leave a permanent mark on your life—a criminal record can prevent you from obtaining a job, finding a home, or even obtaining aid for college. However, just because you have been arrested does not mean that you will necessarily be convicted. To avoid conviction though, you will want to get in contact with a Tampa attorney who specializes in DUI court cases. It could mean the difference between freedom and jail time.