Drunk driving is a serious crime, and Florida law treats it as such. The crime is known as a DUI (driving under the influence) but is sometimes called a DWI (driving while intoxicated). While these names are often used interchangeably, the official term in Florida is DUI.
According to Florida Statutes § 316.1932, a first-time DUI charge, with no enhanced breath or blood level, and that did not involve a crash, may incur one or more of the following penalties:
- more than six months maximum jail time
- $500 to $1000 fine
- 6-12 months probation
- 50 hours of community service
- DUI school and treatment
- 10-day vehicle immobilization/car impoundment
- Ignition interlock device
- 6-12 months driver’s license suspension
As the charge gets more serious, so do the penalties. If you have prior DUI convictions, you are considered a multiple offender. The fine amount goes up considerably, and jail time could be as much as 9 months or more, depending on your blood alcohol level and number of offenses. You may also receive mandatory probation and the suspension of your license.
If your blood alcohol level is higher than .15, you will have to install an ignition interlock on any car you drive for six months. An ignition interlock is attached to your car’s starter. You must blow into the device to make sure that there is no alcohol on your breath before starting the vehicle. The car won’t start if the device detects alcohol. In addition, you must pay an installation fee and monthly fee while the device is in your car.