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What Happens if You Get Multiple DUIs in Florida?

Gutin & Wolverton: Harley I. Gutin April 16, 2024

Driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida is a grave matter with strict penalties that escalate with each subsequent offense. Facing multiple DUI charges not only amplifies the legal repercussions but also the financial and personal toll on an individual.  

These penalties include longer jail time, higher fines, and extended (sometimes permanent) periods of driver's license suspension.  

Specifically, a second DUI conviction can result in up to 9 months in jail, fines up to $4,000, and a license suspension for at least 5 years if the second offense occurs within 5 years of the first.  

The stakes are even higher for a third DUI offense, which can be classified as a felony if it occurs within 10 years of a previous conviction, potentially leading to up to 5 years in prison. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg; let's get into some specifics. 

Second DUI Offenses 

Multiple DUI offenders face a mandatory 10-day jail term if they have a previous DUI conviction within the last five years. The maximum jail sentence varies based on the case specifics. Here are the maximum jail terms for second DUI offenses:  

  • Nine months for a standard second DUI offense. 

  • One year for a second DUI with a BAC of .15% or higher. 

  • One year for a second DUI with a minor passenger under 18. 

  • One year for all DUIs (including second offenses) if an accident resulted in property damage or minor injury. 

  • Five years for all DUIs involving an accident resulting in serious bodily harm. 

A second DUI offense also typically incurs fines between $1,000 and $2,000. In cases where it is a second DUI and the BAC was .15% or higher, or if there was a minor passenger under 18 present, the fines can escalate to $2,000 to $4,000. For any DUI resulting in serious bodily injury to another person, fines may reach up to $5,000. 

License Revocation  

If a driver has a prior DUI conviction within the last five years, a second DUI conviction results in a license suspension of a minimum of five years. This suspension is distinct from the administrative suspension discussed earlier. It doesn't necessarily imply that the driver must serve two separate suspensions, as there is often an overlap between them. 

Vehicle Impoundment  

If you receive a second DUI conviction within five years, your vehicle will be impounded for at least 30 days. Importantly, this duration must not coincide with the period you serve in jail for the DUI offense. 

Third or Fourth DUI Offenses  

In Florida, a third DUI offense is classified as a misdemeanor. Yet, if this third offense occurs within a decade of prior convictions, it escalates to a third-degree felony with severe consequences.  

For individuals facing a fourth DUI conviction, the stakes are even higher, as they will face mandatory penalties of significant severity. Here's what individuals facing their third or fourth DUI are up against: 

  • Fines of up to $5000. 

  • 5-year imprisonment. 

  • Permanent revocation of license. 

  • Probation period up to 5 years. 

  • Impoundment of all vehicles owned by the driver. 

  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on all vehicles owned by the driver. 

  • Participation in community service. 

  • Completion of a 21-hour substance abuse course. 

  • Enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program. 

Mandatory Installation of Ignition Interlock Devices 

Repeat DUI offenders in Florida are required to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles. These devices prevent the engine from starting if the driver's breath alcohol concentration exceeds a predetermined limit.  

The duration for which an IID must be installed increases with each DUI offense, emphasizing the state's commitment to preventing recurrent DUIs. 

Treatment Programs and Community Service 

Multiple DUI convictions often result in mandatory participation in alcohol treatment programs or community service. Typically, treatment programs are designed to address the underlying issues contributing to alcohol misuse and to promote healthier lifestyle choices.  

For instance, offenders may be enrolled in comprehensive outpatient programs that include counseling sessions, educational workshops on alcohol and its effects, and support group participation. These programs not only aim to curb the immediate problem but also strive to instill long-term behavioral changes that support sobriety. 

Similarly, community service acts as both a punitive and rehabilitative measure. Offenders may be assigned to work in local charities, public agencies, or non-profit organizations. This serves to benefit the community and simultaneously provides the offender with a sense of responsibility and accountability.  

It's also seen as a way to make amends for the harm caused by their actions. The duration and type of community service are usually determined based on the severity of the offense and the individual's previous criminal history.  

While these measures aim to address the root causes of DUI behavior, promoting rehabilitation and preventing future offenses, the time and financial investments in these programs can be significant, adding to the overall burden of having multiple DUIs. 

Impact on Personal and Professional Life 

The repercussions of multiple DUI convictions extend far beyond the courtroom, profoundly affecting an individual's personal and professional life.  

The social stigma attached to repeat DUI offenses can lead to strained relationships, isolating offenders from their family and friends. This isolation can exacerbate feelings of guilt and shame, potentially hindering the rehabilitation process.  

Professionally, the consequences are equally severe. Many employers conduct background checks, and a criminal record with multiple DUIs can significantly diminish employment opportunities. Specific professions, particularly those requiring the operation of vehicles or heavy machinery, may be entirely off-limits.  

Furthermore, the loss of driving privileges complicates daily life, affecting an individual's ability to commute to work, fulfill family obligations, or even perform simple tasks such as grocery shopping.  

This loss of independence often forces individuals to rely on public transportation or the goodwill of friends and family, further impacting their sense of autonomy and self-worth.  

Additionally, the financial implications of multiple DUIs—including legal fees, fines, and the cost of alternative transportation—can lead to severe economic strain, compounding the challenges faced by repeat offenders. 

Navigate the Legal System With a Trusted Attorney 

For individuals facing multiple DUI charges, going through the legal system can often feel like an insurmountable challenge.  

The stakes are significantly higher with each subsequent charge, making the guidance and representation of a skilled lawyer not just beneficial, but crucial.  

At Gutin & Wolverton, we understand the gravity of your situation and are committed to providing the aggressive, yet fair and reasonable defense you need during this critical time. 

With over 50 years of combined legal experience, primarily as former assistant public defense attorneys, we have handled more than 140 trials from jury selection to verdict. This depth of experience means we're not only familiar with the intricacies of DUI law in Brevard County, Florida, and its surrounding areas, but we also know how to effectively navigate them to our clients' advantage. 

We believe in keeping our clients informed at every stage of the legal process. Understanding your rights and the legal avenues available to you is paramount. We tailor our defense strategies to the unique circumstances of your case, ensuring that we explore every option for a favorable outcome. Our approach is direct and to the point, ensuring that you receive efficient and effective legal representation without unnecessary expenses. 

Above all, we pride ourselves on achieving favorable results for our clients by being fair, reasonable, and dedicated to excellence. Our focus is not just on winning cases, but on making a positive impact in the lives of those we represent. 

Don't Wait to Get Help 

For individuals with multiple DUI charges, the decision to work with skilled lawyers, like us at Gutin & Wolverton, can make a significant difference in the outcome of their cases. Our experience, dedication to our clients, and comprehensive understanding of DUI law in Florida position us to offer the high-quality defense you need during this challenging time.