If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI in the State of Florida, contact one of the experienced and highly qualified attorneys at The Law Offices of Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan — a DUI defense law firm in Clearwater. We are former state prosecutors with more than 25 years of experience in the Pinellas County court systems who are dedicated to defending your rights and protecting your privilege to drive. We routinely deal with the DHSMV, and we will act quickly to evaluate the facts of your DUI charge, formulate a strong defense, and work towards getting your DUI charge reduced to reckless driving.
To answer some of your immediate questions and provide you with a better understanding of your options, this article will review 10 things you should know about DUI offenses in Clearwater.
1. What Constitutes a DUI in Florida?
In the State of Florida, an individual is guilty of a DUI if he or she is driving or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence when affected to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired. Under Florida law, you may be charged with driving under the influence if your blood-alcohol level is 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or your breath-alcohol level is 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
2. Can You Refuse to Take a Breath, Blood, or Urine Test?
Under Florida law, if you refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, your license will be suspended. If this is your first DUI arrest, your license could be administratively suspended for a period of one year. If this is your second or subsequent DUI arrest and you have previously refused to submit a sample and you refuse to submit a sample again, your license could be administratively suspended for a period of 18 months.
3. What Are the Penalties For a First Offense?
The possible legal consequences of a first-offense DUI in Florida include fines and court costs ranging from $1,000 to $1,500, probation, at least 50 hours of community service, license suspension ranging from six months to one year, vehicle impoundment, and possible jail time.
4. What Are the Penalties For a Second Offense?
A standard-second offense DUI in Florida carries a minimum 10-day jail sentence, fines and court costs ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 a license suspension of at least five years if you have had a prior DUI conviction within the past five years, mandatory ignition interlock devices placed on your vehicle for at least one year, and up to 30 days vehicle impoundment.
5. What Are the Penalties For a Third Offense?
Any individual convicted of a third-offense DUI in Florida faces an administrative revocation of their license for at least ten years (if they have had at least one DUI within the past ten years), a minimum jail sentence of at least 30 days, fines ranging from $2,500 to $4,500, impoundment of their vehicle for up to 90 days, and ignition interlock devices installed on their vehicles for at least two years.