Florida DUI: Penalties for a First Time Conviction

If you are arrested and convicted for a Florida DUI, you may possibly face jail time, a loss of your driver’s license and heavy fines as well as court costs. But, if you hire a skilled and experienced DUI attorney, it will certainly help your case.

From the time that you are first booked in to the day that your case is resolved, you will be adding more than just cost though; you are adding a criminal record that could change the way that you live and work for a very long time. Being convicted of a Florida DUI, even as a first time offender, is a very serious matter indeed.

The expenses that you will incur after being arrested and convicted of a Florida DUI, besides the cost of the attorney who will help you get through the court system, include possible fines of between $250 and $500, reinstatement fees, the cost of DUI driving school, increased insurance premiums because of the conviction and the cost of public transportation while you are without a driver’s license. That’s right, you could lose your license as well for a period that could be as little as 180 days or could be up to a year, depending on your behavior at the time of the arrest. If you refuse to comply with testing during the arrest, you could lose your license for a full year under Florida law without the help of a really good attorney. Keep this mind though: you could take the test, fail it and lose not only your license but your case as well. Or, you could refuse to take the test, lose your license administratively but still win the criminal case, if you have a good lawyer.

In addition to the expenses, you may have the possibility of jail time that could be up to six months and up to 50 hours of community service. If you have a child in the car with you (defined as anyone under the age of 18) at the time of your Florida DUI arrest, you can go to jail for up to nine months and have increased fines. While the basic costs for a drunk driving conviction may not look like much, after figuring in the attorney fees and other associated costs, a typical first time conviction may end up costing nearly $8,000 or more. However, without a skilled attorney to help you, the costs could be even higher because like they say, the man who represents himself has a fool for a client.