The state of Florida is a hotspot for tourists, partiers and has a thriving nightlife. The economic success has also caused a surge of driving under the influence crashes and fatalities. To deter drivers from driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or a controlled substance, the state of Florida has implemented harsh penalties for a DUI conviction. So, when it comes to repeat DUI offenders Florida prosecutors always prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a second DUI offense, then it’s within your best interest to secure legal representation. A second DUI conviction can result in expensive out-of-pocket fines, community hours, DUI school, a required IID installation and a possible prison sentence. Not to mention the collateral consequences being a repeat DUI offender can do to your employment and personal relationships. Don’t go into your court date blind and call an experienced criminal defense attorney today.
Attorney for Second DUI in Treasure Coast, FL
After an arrest for a second DUI in Palm Beach County, we suggest you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We can help you understand the charges against you, the potential penalties, and the best way to fight the criminal charges. Our attorneys have collectively 20 years of experience that we want to use for your case.
We can help you fight the administrative suspension and the criminal charges. Call (561) 557-8686 to discuss your case. During your appointment we will sit with you, hear you and start building a defense structure for you. Meltzer & Bell has clients throughout the greater St. Lucie County and Martin County area including Stuart, Palm City, Indiantown, Jensen Beach, Port St. Lucie, Saint Lucie, and Fort Pierce.
Overview of Second DUI in Treasure Coast, FL
- What Does Florida Consider to be Driving Under the Influence?
- Penalties for Second DUI
- Possible Defenses for DUI
- Additional Resources
What Does Florida Consider to be Driving Under the Influence?
Driving under the influence is illegal in all 50 states and Florida is no exception. Under Florida Statutes Section 316.193, driving under the influence is defined as a person who is found in actual physical control of a vehicle and has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Officers can also arrest you for DUI if they reasonable grounds to believe your mental and physical faculties are impaired beyond your control.
What can be even more frustrating is the fact you can be charged with DUI without even operating your vehicle. That is because if you are found to be in “actual physical control” that is enough for the court to convict you of DUI. The term actual physical control is defined as when a person has the capability to drive and control over the vehicle.
For instance, you can be arrested for DUI if you were found sleeping at the wheel intoxicated and your keys are in the ignition. Because the keys are in the ignition and you could turn the car on and drive at any time, then the court considers you to be in actual physical control.
When determining whether a person is in actual physical control, the court will consider the following factors:
- If the car is turned on or not;
- If the motor vehicle is parked;
- Where the keys are located.
- The car’s workability;
- Where the alleged offender was in the vehicle;
- Whether the engine is on or not; and
- If the car has been driven recently
What Are the Penalties for a Second DUI?
The state of Florida has serious penalties for repeat DUI offenders. However, your consequences may not be as severe if you committed your second DUI five years ago or longer. The penalties for driving under the influence are increased dramatically if the second conviction occurs within five years of the first one. Understanding your penalties are key to fighting your second DUI charge. To learn more about the penalties for a DUI outside and within five years, we suggest you read the sections below.
Penalties for Second DUI Outside of 5 Years in FL
f the second DUI occurred more than five years from the first DUI conviction, then the statutory maximum penalties include:
- Incarceration: For a second DUI, you face up to nine (9) months in jail;
- Probation: Up to 12 (twelve) months of probation;
- Community Service Hours: Required minimum of 50 hours of community service;
- Fine: Minimum fine of $1,000 but up to $2,000 (with a blood alcohol reading of .15 or higher or if a minor was in the vehicle, then the minimum fine is $2,000 but up to $4,000);
- Driver’s License Revocation: At least a six (6) month suspension with a maximum suspension of up to twelve (12) months (however you will not qualify for a hardship permit if the first DUI conviction is on your Florida driving record);
- Immobilization of Vehicle: Ten (10) days of vehicle immobilization or impoundment;
- DUI School: The judge must impose a requirement that the driver complete DUI school and any required follow up treatment;
- Ignition Interlock Device: the ignition interlock device must be installed for one year.
Penalties for Second DUI Within 5 Years in FL
If the second driving under the influence occurred within five years of a prior conviction, then the following penalties apply:
- Incarceration: The court must imposed a minimum of 10 days in jail with 48 hours of consecutive jail time (the maximum period of incarceration is nine (9) months unless the breath test reading was .15 or higher or a minor was in the vehicle, in which case the maximum jail time is twelve (12) months)
- Probationary Term: Twelve (12) months probation
- Fines: The court must impose a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum fine of $2,000 (except that if the alcohol reading is .15 or if a minor is in the vehicle then the fine imposed must be between $2,000 to $4,000)
- Community Service: The court is required to impose 50 hours (although the court may allow you to buy out a portion of those hours out at a rate of $10 per hour)
- Driver License Revocation Period: If you were convicted of a second DUI within five years then the court must impose a minimum 5 years revocation of your driver’s license (with no driving at all during the first 12 months of the suspension and the possibility of a hardship reinstatement after 1 year)
- Vehicle Impoundment: The court is required to impose a requirement that you impound or immobilize your vehicle for thirty (30) day.
- Hardship Reinstatement: After a driver’s license revocation for five years you are not eligible for a hardship license during the first twelve (12) months, although you may apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after one year if the following conditions are met:
- You have completed DUI school;
- You remain in a DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period;
- You have not consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement.
- DUI School: The court must impose a requirement that you complete DUI school which typically involves completion of Level Two DUI School includes substance abuse evaluation and any recommended follow-up treatment;
- Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device: The court must impose a requirement that you install the ignition interlock device for at least twelve (12) months after serving any period of incarceration or twenty-four (24) months if the alcohol reading is .15 or over.
Possible Defenses for a Second DUI Charge in FL
The right defense for a DUI charge is unique to the case and the defendant’s situation. Thankfully, there are various defense strategies a skilled attorney can utilize to fight your driving under the influence charges. Finding a DUI lawyer that has a thorough understanding of these defenses and more are critical to protecting your rights and future.
Some possible DUI defenses your attorney could pursue include:
- Proving actual physical control: You need to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated to be charged with DUI. If your lawyer can prove that you weren’t in physical actual control, your charges will be dismissed.
- Lack of probable cause: Law enforcement must have probable cause to halt, impede or detain a driver. Without sufficient evidence of that, then your case may be dismissed.
- Implied consent warnings: Police officers are obligated to warn you of the penalties of declining a DUI test or taking one. If they don’t, this could affect your license suspension and your test results admissibility.
- Not under the influence: Many times, it’s the officer’s interpretations and view of drunkenness that gets a person arrested. If your attorney can prove you were not under the influence, then your case will be dismissed or charges reduced.
- Blood alcohol concentration: DUI chemical testing has a range of possible complications that could affect your results. If your attorney can prove why your results are dubious or false, then you may have your case reduced or dismissed.
- Testing during the absorptive phase: Blood, breath or urine tests are defection if they are done while you are absorbing alcohol. It can take up to three hours to complete absorption. An attorney can prove your BAC result isn’t correct and cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.
Florida DUI Jury Instructions Ch. 28 – Visit the Standard Jury Instructions for Criminal Cases and learn the guidelines the jury must follow during a second DUI case. See the elements of the crime, defenses, and various penalties associated with driving under the influence.
DUI Legislation Signed by Governor Bush – Visit the website for the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (FLHSMV) to read an article depicting Governor Jeb Bush’s approval of a bill for DUI enhanced penalties 10 years ago. See the punishment that follows if a driver refuses to take a field sobriety test, repeat DUI offender penalties, and IID installations.
Port St. Lucie Attorney in Second DUI in FL
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a second DUI within the last 10 years, then it’s imperative you seek experienced criminal defense representation. For excellent legal counsel call (772) 291-2534 we will set up a strong defense for your case as soon as possible.
Meltzer & Bell is a group of reputable attorneys who has 20 years of collective experience we can use for your case. Contact us at (772) 291-2534 to set up your first consultation free. Meltzer & Bell accepts clients throughout the Martin County and St. Lucie County including Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Saint St. Lucie and Palm City.