FREQUENTLY ASKED DUI QUESTIONS
“What kind of penalties can I expect for my DUI charge?”
There are many different factors to consider when determining DUI penalties. The number of prior DUI charges is the biggest factor, however, and penalties sharply increase for each repeat offense.
- Florida DUI penalties can include:
- First offense: up to 9 months in jail and $2,000 in fines
- Second offense: up to 1 year in jail and $4,000 in fines
- Third offense: up to 1 year in jail and $5,000 in fines
License suspension and interlock ignition devices will also be a part of a DUI conviction. Other factors, like open containers and the presence of children in the car, may enhance these penalties.
“My last DUI was X years ago. Does it still count against me?”
Florida does have a “lookback” or “washout” period when calculating repeat DUI offenses. If your second DUI offenses occurs more than 5 years from your first, it will not be considered a repeat offense. If your third DUI offense occurs more than 10 years after your second, it will not be considered a repeat offense.
“Why has my license been suspended even before my trial?”
Any DUI arrest in Florida results in an automatic suspension of your license. However, it is possible to retain your driving abilities while you wait for your trial. To do this, you must request an administrative hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest. This hearing will review the facts of your case and determine whether or not the suspension should be upheld while your criminal charge is settled. It is not required that you have representation from a Punta Gorda DUI defense lawyer during this administrative hearing, but it is recommended.
“What is implied consent?”
Like many other states, Florida is an “implied consent” state and all licensed drivers are legally obligated to comply with chemical testing during a DUI stop. This can include breath, blood, and urine tests. Arresting officers are required to inform you that if you still refuse to submit to one of these chemical tests, you will incur a license suspension.
“What if I still refuse to submit to a chemical test?”
Refusing to submit to a chemical test will result in a suspension of your driver’s license.
- Much like DUI charges, these suspensions depend on the presence of prior offenses:
- First offense and refusal: license suspended for one year
- Second offense and refusal: license suspended for 18 months
- Third offense and refusal: license suspended for 18 months
“Do I need to submit to a field sobriety test?”
Contrary to what many Florida drivers think, drivers do not have to submit to a field sobriety test requested by officers. However, it should be noted that during a DUI stop, officers are trying to observe evidence that a driver is intoxicated, and refusing to submit to a field sobriety test could implies having something to hide.
However, field sobriety tests are a subjective exercise and, in some cases, can be suppressed when it comes time for trial. Many factors, like age, health, and roadside conditions could interfere with a driver’s performance in a field sobriety test. If you were threatened or intimidated by officers into participating in a field sobriety test, it is important that you let your legal representation know.
Still need answers? Contact us at Leskovich Law Group, P.A. Our team of dedicated Punta Gorda DUI defense attorneys are ready to assess your case with a free consultation.