Driving under the Influence (DUI) is one of the major road safety concerns in Florida. According to a Centers of Diseases report (CDC), the percentage of adults who report getting behind the wheel after excessive drinking in the last 30 days in Florida is 2.0%. This figure is 0.3% higher than the national average.
Whereas 2% over a month may seem negligible, its effects are significant. The CDC report further indicates that 7,573 people died in alcohol-impaired driving accidents in Florida between 2009-2018. This is why DUI is considered a severe offense and attracts heavy penalties, more so for third DUI charges Miami.
In this article, you’ll learn all about DUI charges and what to expect after third DUI charges Miami.
What Qualifies as a DUI Offense?
Over the last few decades, alcohol-impaired driving has been a significant threat to public safety. To mitigate its effects, there have been several measures put in place to control it. As with all states in the U.S., setting a blood alcohol concentration limit (BAC) is the key measure taken.
Though the rates of fatal crashes due to DUI have been going down since the 1980s, the threat is still significant as the number of DUI offenses remains high.
Third DUI Charges Miami
Understandably, individuals who may not usually drink excessively may find themselves behind the wheel with a BAC higher than 0.08. This is why charges for first-time offenders are not harsh. However, if you have been charged twice more before, you face far stricter penalties. Multiple violations demonstrate a disregard of DUI regulations and that you repeatedly put your life and other road users at risk.
Consequences of a Third DUI in Florida
A third Dui offense in Florida attracts serious consequences. Upon conviction, there are mandatory punishments that a judge must impose. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be facing:
- Jail time
- Heavy fines
- Revocation of your driver’s license
- An ignition or interlock device
- DUI school
Under normal circumstances, a third DUI offense in Florida will qualify as a misdemeanor. This is when your blood alcohol concentration is slightly above the permitted limit, and your offenses are spread are over ten years apart.
However, some qualifying criteria can make your third DUI in Florida to be considered a felony of the third degree. This will happen if:
- Your third offense occurs within ten years of the second one
- You have a minor present in the vehicle while committing the offense
- Your blood alcohol concentration is 0.15 or higher
When your offense includes any of those elements, it is considered an enhanced third DUI, and you’ll face much harsher mandatory and discretionary penalties by the presiding judge.
However, it is important to note that your offense can qualify as a third-degree felony even if you do not have any prior DUIs. This occurs when the accident results in bodily harm.
After your third DUI conviction, you will face a mandatory fine as per the fine schedule under Florida Statute Section 316.193(2)(a)-(b). If your second and third offenses are more than ten years apart, you’ll face a fine that will not exceed $5,000 or be lower than $2,000.
However, if your offense qualifies as an enhanced DUI, the minimum fine will rise to $4,000.
The Florida Statutes Section 316.193 provides guidance on the amount of jail time you can serve for a third DUI charges Miami. The key consideration for this is whether your offense qualifies as a misdemeanor or a felony.
For a misdemeanor, imprisonment is not mandatory. The judge will look at other factors in the case to determine whether to issue a prison sentence. If they deem it necessary, the imprisonment period cannot exceed 12 months.
For an enhanced DUI, things are a little different. You will face a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 30 days and at least 48 consecutive hours of confinement. However, if the judge determines that you deserve a longer sentence, they can issue you with a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
3. Revocation of Driver’s License
If you consistently prove to be a threat to other road users by driving under the influence, one of the consequences you’ll face is the revocation of your driver’s license. This may be issued by a judge or the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
For a misdemeanor, a judge may revoke your license for a minimum of 180 days. If your third offense is within ten years of the previous one, your license may be revoked for up to ten years. Fortunately, the law also has a provision in which your license may be reinstated for hardship purposes after two years of no driving. Before your license is reinstated, you must adhere to all probationary terms and complete DUI school. After a third DUI conviction, you should know that any other one will result in a permanent revocation of your license.
Even if you are not convicted of a third DUI offense, the FLHSMV may still revoke your license if caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. If you are facing a second suspension, it may be suspended for up to one year.
You may also face a license suspension if you violate the ‘implied consent laws by failing to submit to chemical testing. This suspension may last one year for a first-time refusal and up to 18 months for subsequent ones.
4. DUI School and Ignition Interlock Device
As a third-time DUI offender, you must attend and complete the multi-offender Level II DUI School after which you will face a psychological interview evaluation. The classes involve 21 hours of lectures, videos, class discussions, and handouts.
The court will also instruct that an ignition interlock device is installed in all your vehicles for at least two years. Each time you start the vehicle, you’ll have to blow into it for it to check your BAC level.
Taking Control of the Situation
Third, DUI offenses are taken seriously under Florida laws, and the penalties that will be issued may be severe. Therefore, you must get in touch with a DUI attorney immediately to begin preparing your defense.
Meltzer & Bell, P.A. DUI & Criminal Trial Lawyers has a team of experienced DUI attorneys. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation to find out how we can help you with your case.