Representing Clients With Prior DUI Convictions in Florida
Getting arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Florida can be a stressful experience. While even a first-time DUI charge should be taken seriously, the situation can become significantly worse if you already have prior DUI convictions on your record. Repeat DUI offenses are common and both the law and prosecutors punish repeat offenders with increasingly severe penalties.
Anyone facing a DUI charge with prior convictions should immediately contact a skilled DUI defense attorney who understands how to defend against DUI charges and help you avoid the increasing consequences of multiple DUI convictions whenever possible. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in the Fort Lauderdale area, please contact one of Meldon Law’s Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at 800-373-8000 or contact us online to find out how we can help you.
Increased Penalties for Multiple Offenses
The penalties for a first DUI conviction in Florida can include fines from $500 to $1,000 and up to six months imprisonment. These penalties may increase if your blood alcohol content was over 0.15 percent. Your driver’s license may also be suspended by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department for 180 days to one year, depending on the circumstances, and you may have to participate in up to one year of probation.
After a first DUI conviction, you face more serious penalties if you are charged again within a certain period of time. This period of time is referred to as a “look-back” period and is important for second and third DUI offenses. Within this period of time, not only can both your fine and jail sentence increase, you may also face mandatory minimum penalties if you are convicted. There is no look-back period for a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction and those penalties will automatically become more serious, no matter how much time has passed since your prior convictions. Examples of possible penalties faced by defendants charged with multiple DUI offenses include:
- Second DUI Offense – The look-back period for a second DUI is five years. If you are convicted of another DUI within five years of your first conviction, you can face fines up to $2,000, up to nine months in jail, and a driver’s license suspension for five years. The fines and jail sentence can be more severe if you had a high BAC, had a minor in the car, or caused injuries to others.
- Third DUI Offense – The look-back period for a third DUI is ten years. If you get charged with a third DUI within ten years of your first two offenses, you will face a ten-year driver’s license suspension, fines up to $5,000, and a mandatory 30-day jail sentence, which may be extended to 12 months. If your BAC was over 0.15 percent, your minimum fine will be $4,000.
- Fourth DUI Offense – If you are charged for the fourth time with DUI, it does not matter how much time has passed since your previous convictions. A fourth conviction will mean a mandatory $2,000 fine (or more), up to five years in state prison, and at least a five-year license suspension with no possibility of a hardship license. If your fourth DUI is within a short period of time of your past convictions, you could face a ten-year suspension or even the permanent loss of your license in some situations.
The above penalties apply just for a DUI offense. Often, however, a DUI charge is accompanied by additional charges if you caused an accident or injuries. Furthermore, a DUI can be escalated from a misdemeanor charge to a felony for a third or fourth offense, depending on the allegations involved. Having a felony conviction on your record can have serious, far-reaching consequences on your life, as it may impact your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, qualify for a professional license, and more.
Driver’s license suspensions can also get substantially longer with each additional DUI offense. Not being able to drive for an extended period of time can completely change your life. Many people rely on their ability to drive to get to work, school, and other obligations. Having to use public transportation or depend on others to drive you can be significantly more complicated. If you drive as part of your work, losing your driver’s license can also mean losing your ability to earn a living. Going to jail for a period of time also can often result in the loss of a job and financial hardship.
All in all, multiple DUI offenses can be life-altering. You need a skilled DUI defense attorney on your side as soon as possible after an arrest.
Fighting for the Best Possible Outcome
At Meldon Law, we know from experience that each DUI case is different. The circumstances of an arrest can vary significantly, as can the evidence against you. It is important to have a lawyer closely examine all possible ways you may be able to defend against your charges and avoid additional penalties. The following are only some ways we can accomplish the best outcome possible in your DUI case:
- Challenging any chemical tests
- Challenging an officer’s testimony regarding field sobriety tests
- Casting doubt on the accuracy of an officer’s observations
- Arguing to have your case dismissed based on a violation of your constitutional rights
- Presenting another reason why you may have appeared intoxicated
- Negotiating a favorable plea agreement
The best way to know the defenses available in your case is to discuss the details of your DUI arrest and charges with a member of our legal team.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
Meldon Law represents clients in the Fort Lauderdale area who are facing a wide range of criminal charges – including multiple DUI offenses. We know how to protect our clients’ rights and help obtain the best outcome possible. Please call our office at 800-373-8000 or contact us online for more information today.
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Founder of the Meldon Law FirmEmail Jeffrey Meldon