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6 elements that can affect DUI sentencing in Florida

Driving under the influence is a serious offense in Florida. The legal consequences for people convicted can vary based on several elements.

Understanding these factors is important for individuals dealing with the aftermath of a DUI arrest.

1. BAC levels

In Florida, about 2% of adults say they drive after they drink too much. One of the primary determinants of DUI sentencing in Florida is the driver’s blood alcohol concentration level.

The legal limit in Florida is 0.08%, but enhanced penalties may apply if the BAC is substantially higher. Drivers with a BAC of 0.15% or more may face increased fines and longer license suspensions.

2. Prior DUI convictions

Repeat offenses carry heavier penalties in Florida. The number of prior DUI convictions in a specific timeframe significantly influences sentencing. A first-time offender may receive a more lenient sentence compared to an individual with multiple DUI convictions.

3. Accidents and injuries

If a DUI incident involves a traffic accident that results in injuries or fatalities, the severity of the charges and subsequent sentencing can go up dramatically. The fines can be much larger and the license suspensions longer. Imprisonment may be more realistic, too.

4. Minor in the vehicle

Having a minor under the age of 18 in the vehicle at the time of a DUI arrest is a serious aggravating factor in Florida. This circumstance can result in enhanced penalties, such as longer license suspensions and increased fines.

5. Test refusal

Florida operates under implied consent laws, meaning the presumption that drivers consent to breath, blood or urine tests if arrested for DUI. Refusing to submit to these tests can lead to administrative penalties, including an automatic license suspension. Moreover, the court may consider such refusals, potentially resulting in harsher sentencing.

6. Probation violations

Individuals on probation may face additional consequences. Violating the terms of probation can lead to imprisonment and other penalties.

Being aware of these factors is important for individuals facing DUI charges as they think about the potential consequences.