Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara
Content last updated on: April 13, 2023
You can be charged with a DUI in Florida if you have a blood or breath alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher and you are operating a vehicle or have possession over one, per the legal blood alcohol limits put forth by the state.
If aggravating factors are present during your arrest, your charges may be increased from a misdemeanor to a felony, and you may receive more severe penalties. DUI aggravating factors can include having an alcohol content level of 0.15 percent or higher, having previous DUIs or a criminal record, driving under the influence with a minor in your vehicle, causing property damage, causing bodily injury, or causing a fatality.
A DUI felony is a more serious charge than a misdemeanor. Felonies come with increased consequences, ranging from fines to jail time and driver’s license suspension. For some people, one of the most problematic aspects of a DUI felony is the prospect of having a DUI felony on their permanent record with no way to seal or expunge it.
Facing a felony or misdemeanor? Contact an Orlando DUI lawyer for skilled representation.
When Is a DUI a Felony in Florida?
Under Florida law, there are four main ways that a DUI can result in a felony charge. If you have been charged with a felony DUI, quickly contacting a reputable local DUI attorney is essential. Some aspects of your case happen fast, such as a DMV hearing. If you delay, you may not have proper legal representation when you need it.
1. This Is Your Third DUI in 10 Years
If you are charged with a third DUI offense in 10 years, it becomes a felony charge. This is considered a third-degree felony. In addition to fines and imprisonment, this criminal charge will be accompanied by the mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least two years. The device will be installed at your expense once you qualify for a restricted or permanent license.
Most first and second offense DUIs are misdemeanors.
2. This Is Your Fourth DUI Ever
If your recent DUI charge is the fourth DUI you have ever received, it will be a third-degree felony. Aside from imprisonment and other penalties, you will be fined no less than $2,000 for this DUI and any subsequent DUIs you may receive.
3. Your DUI Involves Serious Bodily Injury
Sometimes DUI charges are pressed after an auto accident. If you caused serious bodily injury to another party while driving under the influence, the court would escalate your charges to a felony. A Florida DUI that involves serious bodily injury is considered a third-degree felony.
4. Your DUI Involves a Fatality
In tragic situations, driving under the influence can result in the death of another person or an unborn child. Under Florida state law, a DUI involving a fatality is charged as DUI manslaughter. This charge can be a felony in the second or first degree. DUI manslaughter is the most serious DUI charge in Florida.
If you have been charged with any felony DUI, it is crucial to speak with a lawyer to understand the full implications of your charges. Felony DUI charges tend to cost more than misdemeanor DUIs.
In some cases, your lawyer can plead your charges down to a misdemeanor. Sometimes, felony charges can even be dismissed. A skilled attorney can explain your charges and what legal options are available to you.
Contact the Orlando DUI Lawyers at O'Mara Law Group
A DUI felony is a serious criminal charge in Florida. If convicted, it can remain on your record forever. Acting quickly and working with an experienced DUI felony attorney can help you receive a fair trial and sometimes result in reduced or dismissed charges. Contact O’Mara Law for experienced DUI representation in Orlando and Lakeland.
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