The penalties for first-time DUI offenders can be stiff, and rightfully so. People love to drink and have a good time. This is totally understandable, especially since alcohol is a legal substance for people who are 21 years of age or older. The decision to drive a car after a fun night of drinking, however, is a serious offense that can cost you a lot of money and freedoms.
Florida is one state that can sometimes have stiffer penalties than other states. The severity of the punishment is determined by the circumstances surrounding your specific incident, and you’ll face harsher punishments under different scenarios for your first time.
There are certain things that are guaranteed to happen in Florida when you are arrested for DUI for the first time. If you are convicted, you will lose your license for at least 90 days, but this length can be increased in some cases. If you refuse a breathalyzer test, you will have your license suspended for a year. You will also face stiff fines.
A fine for a first time DUI offender usually ranges between $500 and $1,000. You may be hit with higher fines if you have a higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or if you don’t cooperate with the police when they arrest you.
A higher BAC can also lead a judge to order an ignition interlock device to be placed into your car. If you were particularly belligerent during your arrest, you may be hit with this penalty. An ignition interlock device has a Breathalyzer built into your car. You must blow into it and receive a passing test in order for your car to start. These remain in your vehicle for a period to be determined by the judge during sentencing.
The worst penalties are saved for last. You may go to jail for up to six months even for your first conviction of a DUI. This rarely happens, but you must be aware of the possibility. You will also serve 50 hours of community service after your jail time has been served. You will still be reminded of that DUI for the rest of your life, too, as a DUI offense in Florida stays on your driving record for 75 years. There’s no way to escape the punishments of a DUI, so your best bet is to avoid driving after drinking.