Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer

Are there severe punishments for a first-time DUI offense?

Driving under the influence can land you in trouble with the law, but a first-time offense isn't as severe as a second or third. Your attorney can help you look into the facts of your case, so you can see how to best defend yourself against the potential punishments.

If you've been caught and were driving under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or chemical substances, you may face several penalties. On a first conviction, you can be charged a minimum of $500 or a maximum of $1,000. If your blood alcohol concentration was over .15, then you can be fined up to $2,000.

On a second conviction, you face higher fines. For a BAC of .08 to .14, you can be fined between $1,000 and $2,000. If your BAC is higher than .15, then you can be charged up to $4,000. The same is true if you have a minor in your vehicle at the time of the stop.

One potential penalty you could face is time working in community service. Sometimes, your attorney can work with the court to negotiate more community service time instead of a jail or prison sentence. On a first conviction, you're required to perform 50 hours of community service or pay an additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service beyond 50 that you've been ordered to perform.

On a first conviction, you may also be placed on probation. The length of incarceration or probation may not exceed 12 months. This is typically up to the discretion of the judge who is ruling on your case.

Source: Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, "Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws," accessed Jan. 13, 2017

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