Can I Go to Jail for a First DUI Offense in Pinellas County?

The first question we often get asked when someone is arrested for a DUI is, “will my license be suspended?” The second question, and the most important, is “will I go to jail since this is my first offense?” Jail time can have serious consequences not only for yourself, but for your family and those who rely on you, and for your career.

In this brief article, the top DUI lawyer in Clearwater with our team at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan provides an overview of the penalties you might face for your first DUI offense in Pinellas County, including whether or not you will face jail time.

What are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI Offender?

There are different penalties for a DUI depending on how many DUIs you’ve been arrested for or charged with, if there was property damage, what your blood alcohol content was, and whether or not anyone was injured or killed.

Let’s break down the penalties for a first-time DUI offense.

The DUI fine schedule, per section 316.193, Florida Statutes, states:

First conviction:

  • Not less than $500 or more than $1,000.
  • If blood/breath alcohol level (BAL) was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000.

Regarding imprisonment, the state of Florida provides:

“At the court’s discretion, sentencing terms may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program and credited toward the term of imprisonment.”

Additionally, imprisonment for a first conviction is:

  • Imprisonment for not more than six months.
  • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, imprisonment for not more than nine months.

Additionally, your vehicle may be impounded and you may lose driving privileges for as much as a year for your first offense.

A DUI violation has additional penalties that may be assessed by the court. For more information regarding additional penalties, please see section 316.193, Florida Statutes.

Is Imprisonment Likely for a First-Time DUI Offender?

Now that we know the possible penalties, you might be wondering how likely you are to actually face them.

The prosecutor’s in the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office take DUI’s seriously. We have found that a proactive approach often results in favorable, non-incarcerative outcomes. For this reason, after retaining our office, our highly experienced DWI defense team will likely give you “homework assignments.” These tasks are custom-tailored to the facts and circumstances of your individual case and designed to make you look good in the eyes of the judge and prosecutor. It’s crucial that if you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, that you retain a DUI lawyer in Clearwater at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan to help defend you and understand your rights.

In some cases, we may be able to help reduce your charges to reckless driving, which carries a less severe penalty. If you’re facing a DUI arrest, contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan Clearwater today.

Request a FREE consultation today by giving us a call at (727) 578-0303, or submitting our consultation request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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