Florida DUI and DWI Laws and Penalties

Like all states in the USA, possession of a Florida license automatically provides your consent to be tested by a law enforcement officer if you are stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving. This is the law of “implied consent” and requires you to comply with all tests administered by the law enforcement officer.

 

If convicted of DUI/DWI your specific penalties will depend on the circumstances of your DUI/DWI and your driving history. Typically, you will face jail time, fines, compulsory completion of alcohol/drug education or addiction treatment, a driver’s license suspension/revocation and the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

DUI/DWI Classifications and Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Levels

No one can drink alcohol and drive safely. And no matter how long you have held a license, it is important to know what is considered a legal blood alcohol content level (BAC). Though it is safest to avoid any alcohol before operating a motor vehicle, Florida law states BAC levels are illegal when:

  1. 0.08% or more for drivers over the age of 21.
  2. 0.04% or more if you are driving a commercial vehicle.
  3. 0.02% or more if you are younger than 21 years old as you are under the legal drinking age.

Florida has a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that any driver under 21 who is stopped by law enforcement and has a blood alcohol level of .02 (less than one standard drink) or higher will automatically have their license suspended for 6 months.  A second offense will result in a one-year suspension.

Related DUI/DWI Penalties

The consequences of a DUI/DWI conviction can have a tremendous impact on your daily life and that of your family. Jail time, substantial fines, loss of license, and community service are all consequences of a DUI conviction. These can cause irreparable damage to your permanent record, employment, and even travel and immigration plans. Penalties vary depending on your offense.

For a 1st offense you may face penalties of:

  1. Up to six months jail time.
  2. Fines up to $2000
  3. License suspension of up to 1 year
  4. Mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device (IID)

For a 2nd offense you may face penalties of:

  1. Up to nine months jail time.
  2. Fines up to $4000
  3. License suspension of up to 5 years (with the possible reduction to 1)
  4. Mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device (IID)

For a 3rd offense you may face penalties of:

  1. Up to 5 years jail time.
  2. Fines up to $5000
  3. License suspension of up to 10 years (with the possible reduction to 2)
  4. Mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device (IID)

For a 4th offense:

  1. Minimum 5 years jail time as a habitual offender.
  2. Fines no less than $2000
  3. License revoked for life without the possibility of receiving any hardship license

Applying for a Hardship License

If you are convicted of DUI in Florida, you may have you driver license privileges reinstated for business or employment purposes. This is known as a Hardship License. To apply for reinstatement, please first see the following guidelines.

 

  1. For a first conviction you must complete DUI school and apply to the DHSMV for a hearing for possible hardship reinstatement. A Mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) is required for up to six months for a recorded BAC of .15.
  2. For subsequent convictions, no hardship license is available except as provided below. Mandatory IID for one to two years if BAL is greater than .15.
    1. Second conviction – May apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after one year. Must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period. Failure to report for counseling or treatment results in cancellation of the hardship license. Applicant may not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement. Mandatory ignition interlock device for one to two years if BAL is greater than .15.
    2. Third conviction – May apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after two years. Must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period. Failure to report for counseling or treatment results in the cancellation of the hardship license. Applicant may not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement. Mandatory ignition interlock deivce for two years.

 

Disclaimer: While we try to keep information up to date and relevant on our website, we recognize that there are other factors that can affect the way laws will apply to individual cases. Always consult with your attorney, local courts, judges, and district attorneys for all relevant legal information.