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What penalties could I be facing for a DUI conviction in Florida?

Being accused of drunk driving can make people feel scared, embarrassed and stressed about what a conviction can mean. You may be tempted to just ignore the situation or hope it goes away on its own.

But this will not help. You will have to make a decision about how you want to handle this difficult situation, which can be very intimidating. However, with some legal guidance and information about Florida DUI penalties, you can make an informed decision regarding whether you should plead guilty, negotiate a plea deal or take the case to trial. 

According to Florida DUI statutes, the penalties you could be facing for a DUI conviction depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration at the time
  • Whether you've been convicted of DUI before
  • Whether someone was injured in an accident you were involved in

If, for example, you have been charged with a DUI for the very first time, were not involved in an accident and had a blood alcohol concentration lower than 0.15 percent, the penalties of a conviction may be minimal, though they are still serious.

For a first offense, you can be ordered to pay between $500 and $1,000 in fines. If jail time is ordered, it cannot exceed 6 months. You could also be required to attend alcohol awareness classes, perform community service and you can lose your driving privileges for 180 days.

If you are convicted of subsequent offenses, injured someone in an accident and/or had a BAC higher than 0.15 percent, the penalties will increase substantially. Fines could exceed $4,000 and an imprisonment for as long as five years could be ordered. You could also lose your license forever.

The type and extent of the penalties vary widely and most will fall somewhere between the two extremes. However, this should give you a good idea of what you may hope for and what you might have to be prepared for.

In order to learn more about specific expectations and defense strategies, it can be wise to discuss your case with an attorney. Having legal support can help people defend themselves against charges and potentially minimize exposure to penalties.

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