Multiple DUI Offenses In Florida Carry Different Penalties
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one out of every three drunk driving arrests are repeat offenders. In fact, here in Florida, 113,076 drunk drivers were arrested in a one year span. Of those arrested, 11,681 have been arrested five times. Here in the state of Florida, a prior drunk driving arrest can mean additional consequences that include mandatory jail or prison time. If you have been arrested for a DUI and it is not your first time, you’ll need the services of a criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record for handling multiple DUI offenses in St. Petersburg, Florida. Consequently, aggressive legal representation may be required in order to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
What Counts For Multiple DUI Offenses?
Under Florida state criminal code, any prior drunk driving offense can qualify as a prior conviction and lead to additional consequences. For example, if you have been arrested for drunk driving for the second time, you may not only get a drunk driving charge, but a repeat offender charge on top of it.
Previous DUI Charges In The State Of Florida
Prosecutors can use DUI charges obtained from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to determine a repeat offense.
Previous DUI Offense In Another State
An out of state DUI can count against you as a repeat offense. Additionally, an out of state charge of driving with an unlawful blood alcohol amount can also count against you. Furthermore, other previous alcohol or drug related traffic crimes can count against you here.
What About Boating Under The Influence?
A prior offense of boating under the influence of alcohol can be used by the prosecution to add additional penalties and charges. However, it usually will not lead to extended suspension of one’s driver’s license.
What Are The Potential Penalties For Multiple DUI Offenses In Pinellas County?
How much time has passed and the exact nature of the drunk driving offense can impact the consequences associated with multiple DUI offenses. Obviously, the less time that has passed between infractions, the more harsh the penalties will be.
Second DUI, Five Or More Years Since Last Offense
Even if it has been over five years since your last DUI conviction, you may still be eligible for up to nine months in jail and a suspended driver’s license for one year. If you do not get jail time, it is likely that you will face up to one year of probation and have a mandatory interlock device installed on your vehicle at your own expense. And, they are very expensive.
Second DUI, Less Than Five Years Since Last Offense
A second DUI conviction within five years automatically comes with a ten day jail sentence. However, jail time can also go up to nine months, depending on the nature of the offense. Additionally, one’s driver’s license will be suspended for one year. Furthermore, the defendant’s vehicle will be impounded for 30 days and they may face a $1,000 to $2,000 fine.
Third DUI, Ten Years Or More Since Last Offense
Surprisingly, a third DUI after ten years since the previous offense is considered a misdemeanor. However, it still comes with jail time of up to one year, up to a $2,500 fine and an interlock device on the car for two years.
Third DUI, Less Than Ten Years Since Last Offense
This is where Florida doesn’t mess around. A third DUI offense within ten years comes with some serious consequences. A conviction can result in up to five years in prison, a ten year driver’s license suspension, your vehicle impounded for 90 days, up to a $5,000 fine and an interlock device installed on your vehicle once driving privileges have been granted.
Fourth DUI Conviction
A fourth DUI conviction results in a third degree felony. Together with the consequences one would get from a third DUI, one can also expect to take a required substance abuse course and may also be required to enter a substance abuse program. It is important to realize that one’s driver’s license can also be revoked permanently at this point. As a result, this can affect the ability to earn a living, as well as one’s independence forever.
Will I Go To Prison If I’m Arrested For Drunk Driving?
You might face prison time if the prosecutor of the case can locate and prove prior convictions. However, it is up to the prosecutor to find that information. That being said, prior convictions are fairly easy to locate. Technology and robust databases give law enforcement valuable tools.
One method for breaking down a case is to question the evidence of a case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help do this. Depending on the case, they may be able to help downgrade a felony to a misdemeanor. They may also be able to argue for nullifying any previous convictions, which may reduce charges.
Call The Law Office Of William B. Bennett If You Have Been Charged With More Than One Drunk Driving Offense In St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer, William Bennett offers clients a free consultation on their case. He can present you options as well as affordable payment plans to get you through a troubling time. If you have multiple DUI offenses, it’s time to learn about your options at no cost. Call us at (727) 821-8000 or contact us on our website here.