A DUI offense occurs when the driver or operator of a vehicle is found at the wheel after having consumed alcohol to a level where his or her driving ability (normal faculties) is impaired. Punishment or penalties in case of a DUI offense differ from state to state. In Florida, a first-time DUI offender can expect to receive lesser punishment compared to a repeat offender.
Potential Punishment or Penalties
A DUI offense potentially carries a jail sentence in Florida. Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the type of defense put forward by the defendant’s attorney, and whether the defendant is a first-time offender, lesser punishments may be meted out. First offenders, in most cases, are let off with punishments such as a fine, restrictions imposed on the driver’s license, community service, probation, compulsory alcohol counseling or attendance of “Alcoholics Anonymous” meetings, or compulsory attendance of education classes for drunk drivers.
However, in some of the jurisdictions, every DUI offender must serve time in jail. For a first time offender such prison term may be very brief, such as one weekend. In some cases, the DUI offender is required to have ignition interlock equipment installed in the vehicle(interlock device). This equipment requires the driver to clear a ‘breath test’ before the ignition gets unlocked. The DUI offender’s vehicle may be impounded or immobilized in some cases. Often in Fort Lauderdale, DUI courts require a breath analyzer device to be installed at the DUI offender’s home so that the probation officer may ask for random testing via a phone call.
Depending on the particular circumstances of the case, the court may impose more severe punishment on the DUI offender. For instance, if the offender was found to be driving in a particularly dangerous or careless manner while impaired, or the blood alcohol content level of the offender was found to be exceptionally high, or if the offender was transporting children in an impaired condition, a harsher punishment may be imposed.
Habitual or repeat offenders are also likely to face more serious punishments, including revocation of the driver’s license, imprisonment for significant length of time, and substantial monetary fine. Imprisonment in a DUI conviction is quite common in the case of repeat offense. In some of the jurisdictions such as Florida, habitual DUI offenders may be treated as felons, and receive a sentence of imprisonment for up to five years.
Personal Injury Caused in a DUI Accident
One of the real possibilities in a DUI case is that the offender may end up causing personal injuries or death of another person. Severe bodily injuries or death in such cases are treated as a felony offense in many of the states. Specific felony statutes are also in place in a number of states for DUI offenses causing death.
If the state is able to establish that the act of drunk driving resulted in the death of another person, the DUI offender may receive a long prison sentence. Death in a DUI case may also be prosecuted as a second degree murder or manslaughter offense. For more information specific to Florida as well as information about central courthouse procedure in Fort Lauderdale, contact The DUI Attorneys at William R. Moore Criminal Defense Law Firm by calling 954-523-5333