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first time dui

Posted by John P. Rutkowski | Mar 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

A person commits the offene of DUI if that person is operating a motor vehicle or being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of Alcohol or Drugs to the extent his or her normal facilities are impaired, anywhere in the State of Florida, not just roads, this includes private property. Under the influence of drugs includes illegal and legal drugs. 

The blood-alcohol and breath-alcohol level that meets the criteria of ‘impaired' are and a person is per se under the influence if his or her blood-alcohol is 0.08 (BAC) or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or his or her breath-alcohol of 0.08 (BAC) or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. 

After an arrest for a first time DUI, you will not be eligible for release from custody until you are no longer under the influence and your facilities have returned to normal or Your blood-alcohol or breath alcohol level is less than .05, or eight hours have passed since the time of your arrest. 

Penalties for a first DUI conviction

If your BAC is under a .15 the fine will be at least $500, and no more than $1,000. If your BAC is .15 or higher or if there was a minor in your vehicle at the time of your arrest, the fine increases to at least $1,000, and no more than $2,000.

A first-time DUI with property damage or personal injury may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to a $1,000 and/or up to one-year in the county jail. 

Jail Sentences

First-time conviction for DUI subjects you to a possible sentence of no more than six months. However, if your BAC was .15 or higher or there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, that sentence increases to no more than nine months.

Community Service 

A first-time DUI conviction will result in you having to perform a mandatory 50 hours of community service.

Vehicle Impoundment

Your vehicle is subject to 10 days of impoundment, which is actually an immobilization of your vehicle, after a first DUI conviction. In Pinellas County you will be instructed by probation to contact the sheriff's office. A deputy will come out to your home and put a steering wheel lock on your vehicle. The cost for a first offense is $50.00. However, the court may waive this impoundment/immobilization if you can prove that you or members of your family do not have access to another mode of transportation. Also, the court cannot impound/immobilize your vehicle while you are serving any jail sentence for a DUI conviction. 

License Suspension After Arrest for DUI 

When you are arrested for DUI the officer will give you a citation for DUI and take away your driver license. You have 10 days from the date of that citation to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and either waive the formal administrative hearing or request a formal or informal administrative hearing. 

If you request a formal administrative review hearing, within the 10-day time, the department will permit you to keep driving for 44 days or until the review hearing. 

If you waive the Formal or Informal administrative hearing, within the 10-day time, the department will allow you to immediately apply for a limited license, so you may be able to work, go to school, doctor, etc. 

If you do nothing within the 10-day period, you license will automatically suspend on the 10 day and will have no right to operate a motor vehicle. 

The administrative license suspension occurs before any action of the criminal DUI case. The purpose of the hearing is to determine if the stop was lawful, the officer conducted and field sobriety test correctly, if the officer had probable cause to make the DUI arrest, and if the officer correctly advised you of Florida's implied consent law. If the hearing officer finds these events were not done correctly you will not lose your license at that time. If the hearing officer finds the officer's actions were correct you will lose you license at that time. 

You can still get a limited license though. If you took the breath, blood or urine test you may apply for a limited license after 30 days of suspension. If you refuse any of the test you may apply for a limited license after 90 days of suspension. 

License Suspension After a DUI Conviction 

Anyone convicted of a DUI for the first time is required to complete DUI School before the department will reinstate their limited license. You must show the department proof that you completed the course before your license will be reinstated. If you took the breath, blood or urine test the suspension is for up to 6 months and 1 year is the test was refused.

About the Author

John P. Rutkowski

Mr. Rutkowski has been practicing law for the past twenty-five years. Prior to going to law school Mr. Rutkowski served as a deputy sheriff before retiring to attend law school. Upon graduating law school Mr. Rutkowski served as a prosecutor in Florida before going in to private practice and representing clients in three states.


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John P. Rutkowski, Attorney at Law, firm represents clients in the area of driving under the influence, boating under the influence, Criminal & Civil Traffic Offenses. Contact me today for a free telephone consultation.