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When Does Driving under the influence Turn Into a Felony in Florida?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Florida, and it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant's past criminal history. In this article, we will explore the factors that can turn a DUI into a felony in Florida and the potential consequences of a felony DUI conviction.

Under Florida law, a person can be charged with DUI if they operate a vehicle while their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, or if they are impaired by drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. A first-time DUI is typically charged as a misdemeanor, but it can be elevated to a felony in certain circumstances.

Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenses in Florida

In Florida, the penalties for this kind of DUI charge are set by law and depend on how many times the person has been convicted of DUI in the past and other things. The judge can give a fine, send the person to jail, or even take away their driver's license, as long as all of these things are legal under Florida law.

First DUI Offense

For a first offense, a driver could spend up to six months in jail, pay a fine of $500 to $1,000, and lose their license for 180 days to a year.

Some drivers may also have to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for up to six months if their BAC is.15% or higher or if a child was in the car at the time of the accident.

Depending on the situation, the judge can also add more hours of community service, more time in jail, or a higher fine.

Second DUI Offense

If the driver gets a second conviction within five years of their first, they could go to jail for up to 9 months, pay a fine of $1,000 to $2,000, have their license taken away for 180 days or more, and have to use an IID for up to two years. Also, the car could be taken away for 30 days and the person's license could be taken away for five years, depending on the situation.

Third DUI Offense

If the same thing happens again within ten years, it is now considered a felony, and the driver could spend up to five years in jail, have their car taken away for 90 days, and lose their license for up to ten years. The driver must also go through probation and a course for people who use drugs and report to the court every month. If you don't follow these rules, you can get a probation violation, more jail time, and a longer time without your driver's license.

Dealing with DUI in Florida: Understanding the Consequences of Breath, Urine, and Blood Tests for Drivers

All Florida drivers who are pulled over for DUI must agree to a breath, urine, or blood test. These tests find out how much alcohol or drugs are in the body. Florida's implied consent law says that if you refuse, your license will be taken away for a year. If you refuse again, your license will be taken away for 18 months.

Underage Drivers

Drivers under 21 can't have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of.02% or higher. This is not a crime, but if it happens again, your license will be taken away for at least six months and for a whole year if it happens again. If the underage driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) is more than.05%, they will have to go through a DUI education program before they can get their license back.

Dealing with DUI charges in Florida

You can't negotiate or plead down the charges if you were involved in a DUI that led to a death and your BAC was over.15%, or if you have been convicted of a crime before. They can't be lessened or thrown out. But if it's your first time, you might be able to get a DUI diversion. Your charge could be changed to "wet reckless," which would let you avoid some of the penalties and problems that come with driving while drunk.

Turning a DUI into a Felony in Florida: Understanding the Consequences of Serious Bodily Injury, Death, and Prior Criminal History

One factor that can turn a DUI into a felony is the presence of serious bodily injury or death. If a person causes a car accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and someone is seriously injured or killed as a result, the DUI charge can be elevated to a felony. In these cases, the defendant can be charged with DUI manslaughter or DUI causing serious bodily injury, both of which are felonies.

Another factor that can turn a DUI into a felony is the defendant's prior criminal history. In Florida, a person who has three or more prior DUI convictions within the past ten years can be charged with a felony DUI. This is known as a "habitual traffic offender" or "habitual offender" designation. A person can also be designated as a habitual offender if they have been convicted of certain other serious traffic offenses, such as leaving the scene of an accident or reckless driving.

A felony DUI conviction can have severe consequences in Florida. A person convicted of a felony DUI may face up to five years in prison, as well as substantial fines and fees. They may also lose their driver's license for a period of time, and they may be required to complete community service or attend an alcohol education program.

In addition to these criminal penalties, a felony DUI conviction can also have significant collateral consequences. It can affect a person's employment prospects, as many employers are hesitant to hire individuals with criminal records, especially for positions that involve driving. It can also make it difficult for a person to obtain a professional license or certification, as many professional organizations have strict policies regarding criminal convictions.

Every criminal charge is unique.

Strict procedures and laws must be followed in order for the charges to be upheld. Preparing the defense in criminal cases involves investigation of the facts (which includes discovery of the government's evidence and interviewing witnesses, etc.), researching the law and of course, discussing the case with the prosecutor.

The Arroyo Law Firm's defense lawyer for reckless driving can look at several things about your case, like whether or not someone was hurt, if there was an accident if alcohol or drugs were involved, and if there was any damage to property. Also, he or she might be able to show that the charge against you is just careless driving or speeding and not reckless driving.

You might not know that the officer who charged you went too far, but this could be the case. In this case, the officer may be counting on the fact that you don't know what's going on. The officer might even try to scare you away from putting together a defense by making it seem like the evidence against you is overwhelming and you can't win. You need to hire a lawyer immediately to get an honest look at your case and advice on moving forward. It doesn't matter if you were the one who broke the law or if you were in an accident with a driver who was drunk. Talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you figure out how to handle your case.

It is also important to remember that a DUI charge is not the same as a conviction, and you have the right to contest the charges and present a defense in court. Even if you are facing a felony DUI charge, it is possible to obtain a favorable outcome through plea negotiations, trial, or other legal proceedings.

In conclusion, driving under the influence can turn into a felony in Florida under certain circumstances, such as if a person causes a serious accident or has multiple prior DUI convictions. If you have been charged with a DUI in Florida, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and minimize the potential consequences of a conviction.

Here at the Arroyo Law Firm, we offer complete defense services and inexpensive payment plans to help offenders defend their rights. For a free case evaluation, reach out to us online or by phone at 407-770-9000. Knowing your alternatives won't cost you anything, even if you decide not to hire us.

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