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Frequently Asked Questions about DUI in Florida

Find Answers to Your Questions from Our Knowledgeable Jacksonville DUI Lawyers

Most people who are arrested for or charged with driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol (DUI) in the state of Florida have a number of questions and concerns. At Monroe & King, P.A., we understand that you need answers. Take a look at our frequently asked questions about DUI in Florida to learn more about your rights, your options, and what to expect from the DUI process.

Need a DUI defense attorney in Jacksonville? Contact Monroe & King, P.A. at (904) 474-3115 for a complimentary case review. We serve Duval, Clay, Nassau, and St. Johns counties.

If I’m arrested for DUI in Florida, will I have to go to jail?

If you are pulled over for DUI in Florida and you fail the breathalyzer test (or another chemical test, such as a blood test), meaning your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, you will be arrested and taken to jail for a period of at least 8 hours. Following this, you face additional jail time if you are ultimately convicted for DUI.

The amount of jail time you face depends on a variety of factors, including your BAC, whether or not there was a minor present in your vehicle, and if you were involved in a crash that resulted in injuries and/or fatalities.

Generally speaking, without additional factors such as these, you face up to 6 months in jail if your BAC was between 0.08% and 0.15% and up to 9 to 12 months in jail if your BAC was higher than 0.15%. You also face up to 9 to 12 months in jail if you had a passenger under the age of 18 in your vehicle at the time of the arrest.

The only way to possibly avoid this jail time is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can fight to reduce your charges, have your charges dismissed, or pursue alternative penalties on your behalf. Contact Monroe & King, P.A. for a free consultation with our Jacksonville DUI defense lawyers.

Can I refuse a breathalyzer test?

While technically you can refuse a breathalyzer test in Florida, doing so comes with serious repercussions. Under Florida’s implied consent laws, you consent to chemical tests (breath, blood, urine) for the purpose of evaluating your BAC when you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI.

Refusing a breath test or any other chemical test will result in the automatic one-year suspension of your driver’s license, plus an additional 18-month suspension for subsequent refusals. Additionally, if you refuse a breathalyzer or another chemical test, the prosecution can use this against you during your DUI trial and may try to claim that this proves your guilt.

Will I lose my driver’s license if I am convicted for DUI?

Yes, if you are convicted of DUI in Florida, your driver’s license will be suspended. The length of the suspension will depend on a number of factors—including whether you have prior DUI convictions in the past 5 to 10 years, your BAC when arrested, and more—but, in general, you face losing your license for anywhere from 180 days to 6 months or up to 10 years for the most serious offense.

Additionally, immediately upon being arrested for DUI, your license will be revoked and you will be issued a temporary driving permit that is valid for 10 days. If you wish to challenge your driver’s license suspension, you must request a formal administrative hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) within 10 days. If you fail to do so, your license will be suspended on the 11th day after your arrest.

What is an administrative license hearing?

The Florida DHSMV allows you to request a formal or informal hearing to challenge your driver’s license suspension after a DUI arrest. It is crucial that you act quickly if you wish to challenge the automatic suspension of your driver’s license, as you only have 10 days from the date of your DUI arrest/citation to do so.

Your request for an informal or formal license suspension hearing must be made in writing and must include the following information:

  • Your name, birth date, driver’s license number, and address
  • The date that you received notice of your driver’s license suspension
  • The county where you received notice of your driver’s license suspension

This request must then be filed with the proper county clerk within 10 calendar days.

If you request an informal hearing, you will be allowed to submit materials supporting your belief that your driver’s license should not be suspended. The hearing officer will weigh these materials against evidence provided by the arresting officer and will decide on whether or not to uphold your driver’s license suspension or reinstate your driving privileges.

In a formal hearing, however, you (and/or your attorney) are permitted to provide testimony, including witness testimony, and other evidence to support your position. Though it is separate from the criminal DUI process, a formal license suspension hearing can be helpful for gathering evidence that may also be useful in your criminal DUI trial.

Am I allowed to drive to the ALR hearing if my license is suspended?

Yes, you can continue to drive for the first 10 days after being arrested/cited for DUI on the temporary driving permit issued to you by the arresting officer at the scene.

If, however, your license is suspended, it is not only illegal to continue driving but also highly ill-advised. If you are arrested for driving on a suspended license, you face even harsher penalties. If you wish to appeal the Florida DHSMV’s decision to uphold the suspension your license, you may do so. Contact the Jacksonville DUI defense lawyers at Monroe & King, P.A. to learn more.

How much are the fines for DUI in Florida?

Fines for DUI in Florida range depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. That being said, you can expect to pay no less than $500 in fines up to $1,000 for a first-time offense. For a second or subsequent conviction, you’re looking at anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 in fines.

What happens if I’m pulled over for DUI but I am younger than 21?

If you are under the age of 21 and you are pulled over and cited for DUI, you face similar penalties as those over the legal drinking age. Florida has a “zero-tolerance” underage drinking and driving rule, meaning you can be charged with underage DUI if your BAC is 0.02% or higher.

Penalties for underage DUI in Florida include possible jail time (though this is relatively rare), thousands of dollars in fines, probation, community service, and mandatory enrollment in an addiction treatment program. You also face a one-year driver’s license suspension (or longer, if you refuse a breath/blood test or if there are additional factors).

Click here to learn more about underage DUI in Florida.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device, or IID, is essentially a breathalyzer. If ordered by a judge, the IID will be installed on your vehicle and you will be required to blow into it to test your BAC before being able to turn your vehicle on. If the IID measures your BAC at or above the legal limit, you will not be able to start or operate your car.

What happens if I’m arrested for DUI a second or third time?

The penalties for DUI in Florida increase with each subsequent conviction. In order to be convicted of a second DUI offense, your prior offense must have occurred within the past five years (with some exceptions). For a third offense, your prior two convictions must have occurred within the past 10 years (again, with some exceptions).

With each additional conviction, you face steeper fines, longer jail sentences, and longer driver’s license suspensions. Click here to learn more about multiple DUI convictions in Florida.

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