First Conviction for Driving Under the Influence: What You Can Expect
In Florida, driving impaired or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is a serious offense. But you may not be so worried because it’s your first conviction. You may think that means you’ll face fewer consequences, but that doesn’t mean your situation is less severe.
If you’re facing a conviction for driving under the influence, you may need a Florida DUI lawyer to defend your case. Without their guidance, you may expect some or all the following penalties, even for a first-time offense.
What First-Time Offenders Can Expect
You are considered a DUI offender if there is enough evidence to prove that your normal faculties are impaired, or your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is at least 0.08 grams per 200 liters of breath or 100 milliliters of blood. Failing a sobriety test can have penalties even if you’ve never failed one before.
For example, as a first-time offender, you will be subject to the following penalties:
- Fines – A minimum of $500 to a maximum of $1000 will be imposed. But your fine will be steeper if you have a minor with you in the vehicle or your BAC is 0.15 grams or higher. In which case, your fine will be within the range of $1000 to $2000.
- Community Service – You will be ordered to serve no less than 50 hours of community service. You may opt out of this if you are willing to be fined an additional $10 per hour of the required community service.
- Probation – You will be placed under probation for a maximum of one year.
- License Suspension – Even a single DUI conviction on your record can impact your driving privileges. Your license may be suspended for months, leaving you seeking out rideshare, taxi, bus, or other transport options.
Florida’s zero-tolerance law will apply to drivers under twenty-one years old and may impact the penalties you face. Drivers under twenty-one with a BAC of .02 will have their driver’s license suspended for six months, while those with a BAC of .05 or higher will have to attend a substance abuse course.
Additional Penalties After a Conviction
Not all DUI arrests and cases are the same. While many first-time DUI convictions won’t face harsher penalties, aggravating factors can impact how serious your case is. Your lawyer may be key in defending your future. For example, DUI offenses that involve property damage, personal injury, manslaughter, and vehicular homicide merit stiffer penalties.
In some cases, you may face imprisonment for a maximum of six months. If you have a minor in your vehicle or a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.15 grams, you may face a longer sentence.
Get Help from a DUI Lawyer
When you’re accused of driving under the influence, even a first-time offense can be costly. That’s why Hersem Law is here to help. We can help you gather evidence to drop the charges against you or convince the courts to reduce these penalties. Call us at 813-251-7291 or fill out the following online contact form to start with a free strategy session about your case.