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Florida DUI – Your First Offense

Posted by Fred Koberlein, Jr. | Feb 09, 2016 | 0 Comments

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Florida takes driving under the influence very seriously. Penalties can range from drivers license suspension or revocation to thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time. There are several different classes of penalties involved, and if you are charged with a DUI in Florida, you should think very seriously about obtaining legal help. An experienced criminal attorney may save you more in fines and legal costs than what you pay as the attorney's retainer.  Even if you are a first-time offender, the range of potential punishments is broad and depends largely on the alcohol content involved and the district where the offense occurred. Here is an overview of the different kinds of penalties for Florida DUI first offense charges.

Florida DUI First Offense

The penalties for a first-time DUI offender in Florida have a broad range of possibilities, based on breath alcohol content (BAC) or blood alcohol content (BAC). They can include:

Jail Time of anywhere from 6 to 9 months.

  • Fines and Penalties from $500 to $2,000.
  • Suspension of Driving Privileges for up to one year.
  • Ignition Interlock placed on your vehicle to restrict driving.
  • Impounding of your vehicle.
  • Community service of at least 50 hours.

Administrative Penalties of a Florida DUI

Administrative penalties under Florida law include mandatory suspension of your license should you refuse to submit to a breath alcohol test, or urine test, or blood alcohol test. This suspension is for one year's time. You will have to complete educational courses on DUI to get your license back, and during the period of suspension you should be eligible for a hardship license and an ignition interlock device to restrict and monitor your driving.

You could pay fines ranging from $500 up to $2,000. These fines can be doubled if your BAC is above .15 or if you have a minor in the car when arrested. In addition, you will have to pay all court and administrative costs. You may be required to complete up to 50 hours of community service.  An experienced attorney may be able to save more in fines than what the attorney's retainer costs. 

Criminal Penalties of a Florida DUI

DUI is not just a summary offense in Florida. You may have to pay criminal penalties as well. While there is no mandatory jail time for a first offense, you can be sentenced to up to 9 months in jail depending on your BAC and the circumstances of your arrest. Future convictions can result in criminal penalties of up to five years or longer in prison.

Florida DUI Attorneys

If you are arrested for DUI in Florida, never assume that just because it's your first offense the courts will go easy on you. Since the penalties have such a broad range and so much depends on the individual court, it is vital that you seek the services of a qualified Florida DUI attorney. Your auto insurance rates will increase for much longer than the criminal penalties exist.  An attorney knows all of the laws involved in driving under the influence and knows how to help you best plan your defense in court and to have long lasting auto insurance consequences.

The administrative penalties alone can interfere with your ability to maintain a livelihood and get to work. Don't let an arrest for DUI ruin your life—especially if it is your first offense and you are not guilty! Call an expert DUI defense attorney to make sure your rights are protected and you get the representation you deserve. For more information or a consultation on your case, call us today or email us your questions.

About the Author

Fred Koberlein, Jr.

Fred Koberlein is a trial attorney who opened Koberlein Law Offices after acquiring extensive legal experience in three legal practice areas, which are: personal injury law; criminal defense; and local government matters which require you to appear or present your matter before your local government Boards, government Councils, and government Agencies. Mr. Koberlein began trial preparation through an externship as a legal clerk with the Judges of the Third Judicial Circuit for Florida prior to his graduation from the University of Florida, College of Law.  After law school Mr. Koberlein was dedicated to becoming a trial attorney and worked with the Public Defender's Office from 2004 to 2007, where he was promoted to handling felony cases within eight months of hire.  Mr.  Koberlein has handled over 1500 criminal cases ranging from possession of cannabis, DUI, serious felonies, white-collar crimes, violations of probation hearings, and countless motion hearings. Mr.  Koberlein began practicing in the areas of personal injury and insurance defense during 2006.  Mr. Koberlein's experience in prosecuting personal injury claims against those insurance companies he was not representing and defending other insurance companies and their customers provided a unique experience where he was able to learn what each side anticipates from the opposing party.Next, Mr. Koberlein was hired by a City to defend the City's interests and three additional Cities quickly followed and retained Mr. Koberlein to protect their interests.  Currently, Mr. Koberlein represents a total of four (4) municipalities in the North Florida area.  As Mr. Koberlein focused on civil litigation he remained passionate about representing individuals charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes as well as civil litigation issues. Mr.  Koberlein has the experience and reputation to negotiate a favorable resolution in your matter, and if that is not possible, to provide the best, most zealous trial representation available.  Utilizing competent and trusted investigators and experts, your case will be prepared so that the best result will be achieved.  If you or a loved one is hurt, damaged, or is facing criminal charges, you want a qualified, hard-working attorney who will explain your options to you in a straightforward, commonsense, and honest manner. Education and Practice Experience: University of Florida; Gainesville, Florida; Bachelor of Science, 1997 University of South Florida; Tampa, Florida; 1998 University of Florida, College of Law; Gainesville, Florida; 2003 Bar and Court Admissions: Florida Bar, 2004 – Present All 67 Counties in Florida All 20 Circuits in Florida U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida Professional and Civic Activities: Florida Bar Trial Lawyers, 2007 – Present Florida Bar Business Law Section, 2007 – Present Florida Bar Criminal Law Section, 2004 – Present Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2004 – Present Third Judicial Bar Association, 2004 – Present Mr.  Koberlein is committed to his clients and devotes himself to protecting their interests from the beginning to the end of their case.  Mr. Koberlein has spent his career helping clients defend themselves against criminal charges, fight insurance companies, and proceed through the bureaucratic process of local governments.  Mr. Koberlein welcomes the opportunity to meet with you and evaluate your legal needs and provide you with an experienced and competent analysis.

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