Law enforcement officials in Palm Beach County made more than 2,500 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in 2017, resulting in more than 1,200 convictions. Palm Beach County alcohol-related DUIs contributed to 274 crashes, 21 deaths, and 180 injuries in 2016, with other accidents caused by other drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
That’s why, when drivers are arrested after already having one or more DUIs on their records, Florida law penalizes them heavily.
If you were arrested and charged with a DUI, and it’s not your first offense, you need to speak to an experienced multiple DUI lawyer as soon as possible. The penalties that accompany a DUI arrest for someone who has prior offenses may be life-changing. In addition to reputation damage, there is the risk of job loss, steep fines, and even jail. A DUI defense lawyer can advise you of your rights and options, advocate for you, and will work to ensure the best possible outcomes for your case.
If you have been arrested in Palm Beach County and are still in jail, or if you have been released, or if you are seeking an attorney for a loved one, call the experienced DUI lawyers at Meldon Law at (954) 334-1276 to discuss your case and learn more.
Meldon Law’s Results With Repeat DUI Offenders
The legal team at Meldon Law have extensive experience defending clients who have been charged with DUIs. In more than a hundred cases, Meldon Law lawyers have succeeded in getting charges dropped, charges reduced to reckless driving and other lesser offenses, and penalties reduced.
Courts rarely extend the benefit of the doubt to a repeat DUI offender. Judges tend to disbelieve arguments that the DUI was a singular mistake and unlikely to recur, because the repeat charge is explicit evidence to the contrary. However, regardless of the number of DUIs you have, you retain guaranteed rights in a court of law. If Meldon Law agrees to take your case, our lawyers will advocate for those rights and work to get the best possible results.
Potential Penalties for Multiple DUI Offenses
The penalties for multiple DUI offenses vary greatly, based on whether it is a second, third, fourth, or more DUI conviction. Each subsequent offense carries higher fines, more jail time, longer vehicle immobilization, and may lead to permanent license revocation. Although every case is different, and courts have some discretion in sentencing, the broad guidelines for penalties when a driver has been convicted of multiple DUIs are:
- Fines. A second DUI conviction will result in a minimum $1,000 fine, but not more than $2,000. Third, fourth, and subsequent convictions each carry a minimum $2,000 fine; however, once a person has been convicted of four or more DUIs in Florida, there is no maximum limit for a fine. In the event that a driver has a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .15 or more, or they had a minor in the car when they are arrested, fine amounts increase to a minimum of $2,000 and no more than $4,000 on the second conviction. Subsequent convictions with a high BAL or minor passenger have a mandatory $4,000 fine without an upper limit.
- Imprisonment. If a second conviction occurred within five years of the first conviction, mandatory jail time is 10 days. A driver with a third DUI conviction within 10 years must spend 30 days in jail. The maximum jail sentence for second, third, fourth and beyond convictions are nine months, one year, and five years, respectively. These sentences may be increased for factors such as a high BAL or a minor in the vehicle.
- Vehicle immobilization and Ignition Interlock Devices. After a second conviction, the offender will lose his or her vehicle for 30 days, and after a third conviction they lose it for 90 days. Once an offender has a second DUI conviction that involves alcohol, Florida law requires that they have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on their vehicle. An IID is a device that measures a person’s alcohol level when the driver breathes into the device. If it reveals that the driver has been drinking alcohol, the device prevents the vehicle from starting. A second DUI conviction requires an IID for at least a year, and a third conviction requires it for two years. Four or more convictions require a minimum five years with an IID if a driver requests a hardship reinstatement.
- License revocation. If a driver gets a second DUI within five years of their first conviction, they will lose their Florida driver’s license for five years, with the opportunity for hardship reinstatement after one year. A third offense within ten years of the second conviction will result in a ten-year revocation period in which the offender might be able to get a hardship reinstatement after two years. After the fourth DUI conviction, Florida will permanently revoke a repeat offenders driver’s license. After a five-year revocation period, a repeat offender might be able to get a hardship license.
Why You Need a DUI Defense Lawyer for Multiple DUI Offenses
The severe penalties that come with multiple DUI offenses may be life-changing for individuals and their families. Public defenders have huge caseloads, and handle all types of clients, charges, and cases, often on incredibly short notice. The scope of their responsibilities make it virtually impossible that they can give give a single client the resources and time that client might hope to have. Hiring a private lawyer who specializes in defending DUIs is therefore the best way to get the focused advocacy you deserve.
An experienced DUI defense attorney will review their client’s arrest and analyze the law applicable to the facts. If there are any complicating factors, such as possible police misconduct, false BAL readings, or no probable cause for the stop, they will make a case for dismissal or reduced fines and jail time. Such results may be invaluable in cases where reduced penalties could save a client’s reputation, their job, or even their relationships.
Contact a Skilled Palm Beach County DUI Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested for another DUI in Palm Beach County, you need to speak to an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Meldon Law at (954) 334-1276 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.