In Florida, if a driver is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can face significant penalties. However, there are also potential defenses that may be available.
For a first-offense DUI, the driver may receive a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000, driver’s license suspension for a minimum of 180 days, up to one year of probation, mandatory community service of 50 hours, and installation of an ignition interlock device.
The penalties for a second offense are similar, with fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, driver’s license suspension for a minimum of 5 years and the addition of potential prison for up to 9 months. A third offense increases the fine up to $5,000, driver’s license suspension for a minimum of 10 years and potential prison for up to 12 months.
In addition to criminal penalties, a DUI can cause the accused driver to suffer reputational harm and potential negative effects on their employment.
The driver may have several potential defenses to DUI. They can challenge the validity of the traffic stop, question the accuracy and reliability of the field sobriety test, or contest the reliability of the breathalyzer test’s readings.
If the arresting officer did not read the driver their Miranda rights, they may be able to exclude evidence obtained during questioning.
Also, if the driver consumed drugs or alcohol without their knowledge or consent, that may also be a defense. The applicability of specific defenses will depend on the driver’s individual circumstances.
It can seem overwhelming to face a DUI charge, but there is support available.