Florida DUI Consequences May Soon Get Even Tougher

A Florida man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for driving drunk and killing a 29-year-old AT&T worker. Jason Wisham was standing near a utility pole when the intoxicated driver ran into his work van – pushing the van into Wisham and killing him. The drunk driving accident occurred when the driver was traveling 50 miles per hour over the speed limit with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.153, nearly twice the legal limit.

The fifty-year-old driver was no first timer; in fact, he had multiple DUI convictions – a total of three prior DUI’s. He pled no contest to DUI manslaughter, and although the judge could have sentenced the driver to prison from anywhere between 4 and 15 years, she opted for the maximum prison sentence available.

Proposal to Toughen Sentences for Repeat DUI Offenders

Despite her son’s killer getting the maximum term, Wisham’s mother believes 15 years was not long enough. She is currently in talks with the state attorney to create “Jason’s law,” which would mandate longer prison sentences for repeat DUI offenders.

Florida’s Current DUI Sentencing Law

Florida DUI laws are already somewhat harsher than other states. First-time offenders face up to a year of probation, with a possible nine months in jail, a $500 to $1,000 fine and 50 hours of community service. The offender’s driver’s license will be revoked for at least six months and he or she may have to install an ignition interlock device (IID).

A second Florida DUI conviction will result in a mandatory 10-day jail term, with the possibility of up to 12 more months, a fine from $1,000 to $2,000, license revocation for up to five years and the required use of an IID for at least two years. A third DUI conviction increases the fine by up to $500 and the mandatory jail term to 30 days with an overall cap of 12 months. The license revocation also increases to 10 years.

A fourth DUI conviction becomes a third degree felony with a classification as a habitual/violent offender. The offender’s license will be permanently revoked and there are no hardship exceptions available to get it back.

Florida does not yet have aggravated prison terms for repeat DUI offenders when it comes to DUI manslaughter. However, that may not be far off with Ms. Wisham promoting “Jason’s law.”

As you can see, Florida’s DUI laws are quite serious, and are possibly about to get even stricter. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your situation and your options.