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Understanding The Penalties For Drunk Driving

Floridians who face DUI charges need to be fully aware of the ramifications of a conviction. Not all DUIs are created equal, and the consequences can escalate quickly. A DUI can lead to thousands of dollars in fines and significant jail time. The good news is, your fate is not sealed in stone.

Janet E. Johnson is known for creating fierce and vigorous defense strategies. She is well known across the country as a resource both by national news outlets, and by her clients and other lawyers. She can review your case with a eye towards important but often overlooked details. Reach out to her office and request an appointment at 904-820-3455.

Factors That Change Sentencing Guidelines

There are many different questions to ask when the police arrest a person for drunk driving. Any one of these elements can radically alter your case prospects, such as:

  • Who was involved? Cases that involve other cars, passengers or children may lead to increased charges.
  • Was someone injured? When a person was hurt in a drunk driving case, and especially if they sustain a serious injury or if the injured party is a child, the case is considered aggravated.
  • What was your BAC? The higher your blood alcohol content, the more serious the charge. The legal limit is .08 for adults over the age of 21 and .02 for anyone under the age of 21.
  • Is this your first DUI? Every additional DUI conviction comes with additional penalties. Having a prior conviction may lead to mandatory jail time and lengthy driver’s license suspensions.

While some of these factors can feel indisputable, many are more tenuous than you think; even a breath test is not the smoking gun police would have you believe.

The Law Has Specific Sentencing Rules

Every conviction is subject to minimum and maximum penalties under Florida law. Below are some of the guidelines clients may face:

For First-Time Offenders

Number Of Offenses Fines Jail Time License Suspension Ignition Interlock Other Consequences
First Time $500-$1,000 Up to 6 months 180 days None Community service and probation
First Time (over .15 BAC or minor present) $1,000-$2,000 Up to 9 months One year 6 months Community service and probation


For Multiple Offenses

Note, the offenses listed may be subject to greater penalties if an aggravating factor is present.

Number Of Offenses Fines Jail Time License Suspension Ignition Interlock
Second DUI (within 5 years) Up to $2,000 Up to 9 months (min 10 days) 5 years Minimum one year
Second DUI (after 5 years) Up to $2,000 Up to 9 months Up to one year Minimum one year
Third DUI (within 10 years of first, may be felony or misdemeanor) Up to $5,000 Up to one year or 5 years if a felony (min 30 days) 10 years Minimum 2 years
Fourth DUI (felony) Up to $5,000 Up to 5 years Permanent N/A


Call Janet E. Johnson As Soon As You Can

The biggest issue at play in any criminal charge is time. The more time the police and prosecutors have to investigate without someone protecting your rights, the more power they have. Contact Janet’s office in Jacksonville by phone at 904-820-3455 or by email.