Drinking & Driving: Understanding Your First Conviction
Written by Moses & Rooth on July 9, 2015
You were only “buzzed”. You only had to drive two miles. You were late for your curfew. No matter what you say to justify it, the end result is the same. You drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You made a mistake. You risked your life, your passenger’s life, and the lives of those around you. Many people who get DUIs have never been convicted of a crime and hopefully never will be again. Understanding what your options are and what the possible consequences you may be facing is the first step in putting this mistake behind you and moving on with your life.
Florida Drunk Driving: First Time Forgiveness
Fines, probation, jail time, job loss, loss of driving privileges, and mandatory reporting are a few of the concerns that immediately come to mind when a person is charged with drunk driving. Florida law very clearly lays out the minimum penalties for DUI, from first offenders to those that are eventually charged with multiple DUI or have other previous crimes on their record. A first time offender, if ultimately charged, will face:
- A fine of at least $500 if the blood alcohol content (BAC) was less than .15% or if no minor was present in the vehicle
- Community service or fines
- No more than six months in jail; nine if BAC more than .15% or there was a minor in the vehicle
- Impoundment of vehicle; additional fines if property was damaged; and other possible punishments if individuals were injured or killed
Many of these punishments have upper and lower limits—that is fines must be “at least” a certain amount but “not more than” a higher amount; these ranges are determined by the sentencing judge and will be decided at the time of conviction.
Some individuals charged with DUI offenses may be eligible for diversion programs.* Upon successful completion of these programs, the charges may be dismissed and the offender may be given a clean slate. These programs are, however, offered only to first time offenders, and there are many circumstances that may affect an offender’s eligibility.
Orlando, Florida DUI Lawyers
Florida law recognizes that people make mistakes. There is no reason that one mistake needs to have a lasting impact on the duration of your life. If you are serious about making up for your wrongdoing by fulfilling the terms of a probationary sentence and possibly completing a diversion program, our experienced driving under the influence criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth are here to help. Not only will we advocate for leniency, but we will do everything in our power to try to avoid a DUI charge becoming a part of your criminal history. We will explore all possible options and find the best possible solution for your unique situation. If you or anyone you know has been convicted of a drunk driving offense, whether it be your first or your third, contact our Orlando office to learn more about your options at this difficult time.
Did you know? Florida allows for mistakes with first time offenders? Read more on our blog about Allowing for Mistakes: First Time Offenders in Florida