Peter Catania | June 30, 2021 | Florida Law
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a crime in Florida. DUI is proven by an unlawful blood alcohol level of .08 or above or impairment of normal faculties. The courts and lawmakers in the state take DUI very seriously.
- Fines between $500 and $5,000
- Imprisonment for up to five years or as provided in the habitual offender statute
- Impoundment or immobilization of a motor vehicle for 10 days to 90 days
- Driver’s license suspension for six months or more or license revocation
- Loss of commercial driver’s license
- Installation of ignition interlock systems
- Mandatory community service
- DUI school and education programs
The penalties for a DUI conviction increase with each drunk driving conviction within a five to ten year period. The penalties also increase substantially for aggravating circumstances.
What are the Possible Fines and Jail Terms for a DUI Conviction?
The sentence for a DUI in Florida depends on your prior history of DUIs and the circumstances of your arrest.
Below are some ranges for DUI fines and jail time based on the statutory ranges:
- First DUI Offense – No time served up to one year
- Second DUI Offense – 10 days up to one year
- Third DUI Offense – 30 days up to one year
- Fourth DUI Offense – Up to five years in prison (felony charge)
Possible fines for DUI convictions:
- First DUI Offense – $500 to $1,000 ($1,000 to $2,000 if a minor was in the vehicle)
- Second DUI Offense – $1,000 to $2,000 ($2,000 to $4,000 if a minor in the vehicle or for a BAC of .15 or above)
- Third DUI Offense – $2,000 to $5,000 ($4,000 to $5,000 if a minor in the vehicle or BAC of .15 or above)
- Fourth DUI Offense – $2,000 minimum possible fine, which can increase based on the circumstances
In addition to the fines, other financial consequences might apply. Your insurance premiums will substantially increase when you are allowed to drive again. You may also be responsible for paying fees for reinstating your driver’s license, installing an ignition interlock system, or going to DUI school.
Because the possibility of jail time, fines, and other punishments are severe, it is best to seek legal advice from an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Florida. There could be other factors that impact the outcome of your DUI case.
What Happens When a Drunk Driver Causes a DUI Accident in Florida?
Impaired driving (alcohol and drugs) can result in catastrophic injuries and death. In 2019, there were 4,984 alcohol-impaired traffic accidents statewide. DUI accidents resulted in 378 traffic deaths and thousands of injuries.
Common injuries in a DUI accident include:
- Broken bones
- Amputation and loss of limb
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Knee injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Severe burns and disfigurement
- Shoulder injuries
The damages caused by a DUI crash go beyond physical injuries, pain, and suffering. Damages also include economic damages, such as loss of income and medical bills. The cost of personal care and help with household chores are also examples of economic damages.
Thankfully, DUI accident victims can hold the at-fault driver responsible for their losses after the crash.
What Compensation Can a DUI Accident Victim Recover?
The value of a personal injury claim involving a drunk driver depends on the facts of the case. Permanent impairments, disabilities, and death increase the value of the claim.
The drunk driver may be liable for the damages caused by a DUI accident. However, being drunk is not proof that the driver caused the crash. You need evidence showing that the drunk driver’s actions resulted in the collision.
For example, you might have evidence that the intoxicated driver ran a red light or rear-ended a stopped vehicle. You might show the drunk driver swerved into oncoming traffic and caused a head-on crash.
Evidence in a drunk driving accident case may include:
- Videos from traffic cameras or surveillance cameras
- Testimony and statements from eyewitnesses
- Statements made by the drunk driver and the other driver at the accident scene
- Physical evidence gathered from the crash site
- Opinions from experts, such as accident reconstructionists
- Cell phone records and data collected from vehicle recording systems
Working with a DUI accident attorney can help. Your lawyer conducts a thorough accident investigation to gather evidence. The legal team talks to witnesses, reviews records, works with experts, and searches through every piece of evidence to determine how the crash occurred.
After identifying the factors that lead to the collision, your attorney works to tie those factors to the drunk driver. By proving causation (linking the driver’s actions to the factors that caused the accident), your attorney establishes liability for your damages.
It is important to remember that your time to file a lawsuit related to a DUI accident is limited. The criminal case for the DUI offense and the civil case for your injuries are two separate actions. Do not wait until the DUI case is resolved to talk to a personal injury lawyer about your injury claim.