Florida DUI First Offense

The penalty for your first DUI offense in Florida can vary depending on the severity. Aggravating factors increase your penalties, and jail time is a real possibility. The attorneys at O’Mara Law Group understand Florida DUI laws and how to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara

Content last updated on: March 22, 2024

A Florida DUI first offense is no trivial matter. These consequences can range from fines to imprisonment. DUI charges can move swiftly through the Florida court system, so quickly retaining trusted legal counsel is important. Having a DUI lawyer who understands Florida’s laws could result in less severe penalties.

What To Expect When Facing Your First DUI in Florida

When you are arrested for a DUI, the police will first ask you for a breath or blood DUI test. If you have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, they will hold you in custody for eight hours or longer. Once you are eligible for release, you will be released on bond and need to start considering the legal implications of your arrest and the upcoming consequences.

How Does Florida Define a DUI?

You can be charged with a DUI in Florida if you drive a vehicle or have control over a vehicle when your breath- or blood-alcohol content is 0.08 percent or if you are under the influence of intoxicants, such as drugs or liquor.

Additionally, the statute outlines aggravating factors that could increase your penalties. These include having a blood alcohol or breath alcohol content of at least 0.15, committing a DUI while a person under 18 is in the vehicle, damaging property, physically hurting another person, causing serious bodily injury, or causing a death.

Consequences of a Florida DUI: First Offense

The consequences of a first-offense DUI in Florida can include fines, possible jail sentences, driver’s license suspension, ignition interlock device, vehicle impoundment, and additional penalties.

A first-offense DUI charge can carry the following consequences:

  • Fines: You may be fined at least $500 and up to $1,000.
  • Jail time: You may be imprisoned for up to six months.
  • Driver’s license suspension: Your license may be suspended for 180 days.
  • Ignition interlock device: When the courts require ignition interlock devices for a first offense, the devices are installed for at least six continuous months at the offender’s expense.
  • Vehicle impoundment: Your vehicle may be impounded for 10 days.
  • Monthly reporting: All offenders receive monthly reporting probation.
  • DUI school: All offenders must complete a substance abuse course, including a psychosocial evaluation.
  • Substance abuse evaluation and treatment: The DUI school may refer the offender to receive additional authorized substance abuse treatment.
  • Probation: The court may place you on probation for up to one year and order you to perform community service for up to 50 hours.

Receiving your first DUI charge is not only stressful but can have a significant impact on your future. It is important to request a DMV hearing shortly after your DUI. An experienced Florida DUI lawyer can help you arrange the hearing and may be able to help you reduce your consequences. The attorneys at O’Mara Law Group can advise you of your legal options.

If your DUI includes aggravating factors that expose you to felony charges, legal help is even more important. A felony conviction can stay with you years after you have completed your sentence. A felony lawyer familiar with Florida’s DUI laws can help.

Getting Your License Back After Your First DUI in Florida

When you receive your first DUI, the Florida courts will revoke your driver’s license for six to 12 months, starting from your conviction date. Before your revocation expires, you can apply for a hardship license in your county. You would need to prove you completed the DUI program if the court referred you to one.

Alternatively, you can wait until after the revocation period to reinstate your license. However, proof of completion or enrollment in a DUI program is required. If you do not complete your DUI course within 90 days of your license’s reinstatement, your license will be canceled until you complete the course.

For your license to be reinstated, you must take all required license examinations and pay the following:

  • Revocation reinstatement fee
  • Administrative fee
  • License fees

First DUI in Florida and Criminal Convictions

A first DUI offense can carry criminal charges if specific aggravating factors are involved. Depending on the aggravating factors, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Damaging property or physical injury to another person can escalate your first DUI to a misdemeanor. Causing severe bodily injury or death can escalate the offense to a third-, second-, or first-degree felony.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions regarding first DUIs in Florida. For more precise answers based on the details of your case, speak with the Orlando DUI attorneys at O’Mara Law Group.

What is the penalty for a first DUI conviction?

The penalty for your first DUI conviction in Florida can vary depending on the severity of your offense. If you damaged someone’s property or hurt someone, your penalty will be more severe, as Florida considers these to be aggravating factors. If you seriously injure or kill another person while driving under the influence, you will face felony charges. First DUI penalties may include fines, imprisonment, license revocation, and other consequences mandated by the court.

Is your license immediately suspended after a Florida DUI?

Technically, your license is immediately suspended following a Florida DUI. The officer will issue you a temporary license valid for 10 days starting from your arrest date.

How much does a first DUI cost in Florida?

Your first DUI conviction in Florida will cost between $500 and $1,000 in fines if there are no aggravating factors. However, additional fees may include:

  • Bond funds
  • Towing fees
  • Vehicle impoundment fees
  • Revocation fee
  • Suspension fee
  • Administrative fee
  • Attorney’s fees

Each case is unique, but you should expect the costs associated with your DUI to add up quickly.

Can I go to jail for my first DUI in Florida?

Imprisonment is a real possibility for first-time DUI offenders in Florida. If your DUI does not include aggravating factors, the maximum imprisonment is six months for your first offense. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to reduce your jail time.

What happens when you get a DUI for the first time in Florida?

When you get your first DUI, you will lose your license and be subject to fines, imprisonment, DUI school, and other consequences. A knowledgeable lawyer can ensure you receive a fair trial and representation.

How O'Mara Law Group Can Help

The attorneys at O’Mara Law Group understand Florida DUI laws and how to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case whether you are facing your first or second DUI. If you have been charged with your first DUI, seeking legal counsel can be crucial.

Contact O’Mara Law Group for experienced criminal defense representation.

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