Every state, and even most countries, have laws against driving while under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substances. It was proven decades ago that driving while impaired like this causes accidents, which is why driving while under the influence (or "DUI" for short) is illegal. The only difference is the penalties different states and countries impose on impaired drivers who have been convicted of the offense. The severity of the penalty often depends on whether any people were injured in an accident by a DUI driver, and how many times that driver has previously been convicted of DUI.

Here are the specific penalties for DUI in Florida.

1. First Offenses

There are a wide range of possible penalties for first offenses. The circumstances of your DUI and arrest for it, the discretion of the judge, and your behavior in court will have a lot to do with what penalties are imposed. In certain circumstances, you may be able to get the DUI off your record and the points removed from your license if you complete a pre-trial intervention program or community service. Again, it's all up to the individual judge. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, here are the possible penalties for first-time DUI offenders in Florida:

  • A fine of at least $500, but possibly up to $1,000. If your blood alcohol level is higher than 0.15, or if there is a minor in the car with you, the fine will be between $1,000 and $2,000.
  • A minimum of 50 hours of community service, or $10 per community service hour if you don't want to actually do the service
  • Driver's license suspension of no more than a year
  • Any probation or imprisonment cannot exceed one year
  • No more than six months in a residential alcohol treatment program, unless there was a minor in the car or a blood alcohol level of more than 0.15, then the sentence can be no less than nine months, if residential alcohol treatment is ordered
  • Car impounded for no more than 10 days (exception:  the car will not be impounded if it is the defendant's family's only method of transportation

2. Second Offenses

Possible penalties for second DUI offenses in Florida include:

  • A fine of between $1,000 and $4,000
  • Driver's license suspension of no more than five years
  • A jail sentence of between nine months and a year
  • Impoundment of your car for no more than 30 days

3. Third Offenses

Potential penalties for third DUI offenses in Florida include:

  • A fine of between $2,000 and $5,000
  • Driver's license suspension for no more than 10 years
  • Impoundment of your car for up to 90 days
  • A mandatory 30 days in jail if this is your third offense in 10 years. If it's your third offense after 10 years, you may get up to a year in jail, but it will likely be less.

4. If You're Convicted of DUI in Florida More Than Three Times

Fourth convictions for DUI and and other convictions after that will result in:

  • A minimum $2,000 fine (but probably more)
  • Permanent revocation of your Florida driver's license (meaning you can never get another one in Florida)
  • Up to five years in jail

5. People Under Age 21

If you're convicted of a DUI before you're legally able to drink, you may face the following penalties in Florida:

  • An automatic six month license suspension
  • Any of the possible penalties for first offenses


These are merely the penalties you can receive if you are convicted of DUI without property damage or injury. If you cause property damage or worse, hurt or even kill someone while driving under the influence, the penalties are much more harsh.The best thing to do is to avoid driving under the influence. If you are arrested for DUI in Florida, though, your best bet to get the lightest sentence possible, or even to get the charges dropped entirely on technicalities, is to hire one of the excellent DUI lawyers like http://www.hogankimrey.com who help drivers like you throughout the state. There are sure to be plenty of DUI lawyers in your city or county alone.