West Palm Beach Repeat DUI Lawyer
For many Florida residents, a drunk driving arrest is often their first experience with the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, it is sometimes not their last. Indeed, many people face DUI charges for a second, third, or even fourth time.
Drunk driving is not a one-size-fits-all crime. The penalties escalate based on a defendant’s prior conviction record. So if this is not the first time you have been arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence, you need to have an experienced attorney by your side. The West Palm Beach Repeat DUI lawyers at the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., can represent you if you are facing a new charge and are looking to try and avoid the maximum penalties under Florida law.
Past DUIs Mean Additional Future Penalties
DUI penalties are established by the Florida legislature. The legislative scheme expressly takes into account the number of prior DUI convictions, if any, a defendant has upon a subsequent DUI charge. The basic progression goes like this:
If a defendant is tried and convicted of a second DUI, a judge can sentence the defendant to up to 9 months in jail and impose a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000. Additionally, the defendant’s driver’s license can be suspended between 180 days (6 months) and 1 year, and they can be required to install and use an ignition interlock device (IID) with their car for a period of 2 years.
If a defendant receives their second DUI conviction within 5 years of their first DUI conviction, the court must sentence the defendant to at least 5 years in jail and revoke their driver’s license for at least 5 years.
A third DUI conviction carries a maximum jail term of 12 months (1 year), a fine of up to $5,000, and the same license revocation and the same potential IID penalties as a second DUI conviction.
A defendant convicted of a third DUI within 10 years of any prior DUI conviction can be charged with a felony. A conviction of felony DUI carries a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail–and a maximum of 5 years. The defendant’s driver’s license will also be revoked for a period of 10 years.
A fourth or subsequent DUI is always prosecuted as a felony in Florida regardless of how long the prior DUI convictions occurred.
There are other factors that can affect the severity of a repeat DUI charge. For instance, if the prosecution can show your blood-alcohol level was 0.15 percent or higher–roughly twice the legal limit–or that you were driving drunk with a minor in your car, that can lead to enhanced penalties. You may also face the suspension of your driver’s license if you refuse to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test following a DUI arrest.
Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson Today
A DUI case is not an experience that anyone is ever eager to repeat. But if you find yourself charged again with drunk driving, you must be prepared to defend yourself in court. If you need legal advice or assistance from a skilled West Palm Beach repeat DUI lawyer, contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., today.