Anyone can get arrested for a DUI charge, and it could negatively impact their life if it is not handled properly. Seeking legal counsel to defend a DUI arrest is imperative to reduce charges and penalties. If a charge can be reduced to reckless driving, or even dismissed, it will not have as much of an impact on insurance, driving records or imposed penalties/jail time. Florida is on a serious mission to reduce accidents caused by drunk drivers leading tothe conviction of more than half of DUI violoation tickets issued in 2017.
Arrest action important.
The strength of the case has much to do with what happened at the time of the DUI arrest. If you are pulled over for some other traffic infraction and you slurred your speech, it may have given an officer reason to request a breath test. If you do not take the breath test, it will be up to the State to prove their case against you and may lead to reduced charges if they can only support the reason for the pull over situation, like a traffic violation or some dangerous condition with your vehicle that an officer notices. Since use of a video tape may be brought to the judge, calm behavior and clear speech may be in your favor toward having a DUI reduced to a reckless driving charge. There is value in fighting the charges with an experienced DUI attorney.
Florida penalties for first offense DUI and include:
Fine – $500 to $1000 (blood alcohol level of .15 or higher or minor in vehicle)
- Community Service – 50 Hours
- Probation – Not more than 1 Year
- Imprisonment – Not more than 6 Months
- Imprisonment with BAL of .08 or higher with a minor in the vehicle, not more than 9 months
- License Revocation – Minimum of 180 days
- DUI School – 12 Hours
Penalties for a first DUI conviction in Florida increase dramatically if BAL (Blood Alcohol Level is .15 or higher or if a minor is in the vehicle). In these cases an Ignition Interlock Device may be installed for at least 6 continuous months. Average costs related to a DUI can be high, including legal defense, fines, and auto insurance increases of approximately $8000.
The penalties listed above are for a first DUI conviction. With each additional DUI conviction the penalties in Florida are more severe. Complete details on Florida DUI penalties can be found in the Florida drivers manual.
Additional DUI convictions under Florida Statute 316.193.
Second Conviction Offense: mandates the driver have an ignition interlock device approved by the state, installed on all vehicles individually or jointly owned or leased and operated by the convicted person when the convicted person qualifies for a permanent or restricted driver’s license;
Third Conviction Offense: If a person is convicted of a third violation within ten years after a prior conviction it will be considered a felony of the third degree; if convicted of a third violation after ten years from the prior convictions, punishment will be a fine of $2,000 to $5,000 and prison time of not more than 12 months, and a mandatory ignition interlock device for 2 years.
Fourth or More Convictions: If convicted of a fourth or more violation, it is considered a felony of the third degree and punishable with a fine not less than $2,000; and placement of an ignition interlock device for at least six months.
Call a lawyer.
Hire an attorney at Trevena Pontrello & Associates who knows the laws that will strengthen your claim for reduced charges to reckless driving or a dismissal.
Trevena, Pontrello & Associates
801 W Bay Drive Suite 509
Largo, FL 33770
Phone: (727) 581-5813