If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you already know you potentially face severe consequences when the case goes to court. In addition to the immediate consequences, if convicted, you face a mark on your permanent record that will follow you around. While many DUI cases are first offense misdemeanors, they can rise to the level of felonies under certain conditions in the state of Florida.
You will need sound legal advice if you have been charged with a DUI, as well as a lawyer who will ensure your case gets excellent representation in court. Stroleny Law, P.A. has an experienced Miami DUI attorney who can assess the individual merits of your case and advise you on how to best defend your case in court.
First DUI Offense
The penalties of a first-time misdemeanor DUI offense are far less severe than the penalties of a felony DUI. If your DUI is considered a misdemeanor, then it’s likely that the focus of any sentence will be on rehabilitation, though the penalties are still considered inconvenient by many.
If you are convicted of a first-time misdemeanor DUI offense without any aggravating circumstances, the most you could be sentenced to is a fine of up to $2,000, up to six months in jail, community service, and you will have to attend mandatory DUI school. However, while this is the maximum penalty, jail is usually not included in a first time misdemeanor plea. You will be considered to be on probation for a specific amount of time, and you could have your license revoked for as long as one year.
If you have been charged with your first DUI offense, you will want to hire a DUI attorney in Miami to try and avoid ending up with a conviction on your permanent record.
These are the circumstances that can turn a DUI arrest into a felony DUI arrest:
- Third DUI in 10 Years – If you are facing your first offense, then you can be charged accordingly, as outlined above. But if it’s your third DUI conviction in 10 years, it changes from a misdemeanor to a felony, and you could be hit with more severe charges. You could be punished with as much as five years in prison or made to pay a fine of as much as $5,000.
- Fourth DUI Offense – If you are convicted of your fourth DUI offense, then it automatically becomes a third-degree felony charge, and you could be forced to pay a fine not exceeding $5,000 and/or be sentenced to five years in prison—this is regardless of how much time it has been since your last DUI conviction.
- DUI with Serious Bodily Injury – If anyone has been injured as a result of the DUI incident, then you could be charged with a third-degree felony. This includes other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and passengers who are traveling with you. Third-degree felonies potentially carry a $5,000 fine and a five-year prison term. Additionally, you could also be made to pay for any medical costs and damages the victims have incurred as a result of the DUI.
- DUI Manslaughter – If a DUI crash results in the death of anyone involved, even an unborn child, then you could be facing a charge of DUI manslaughter. DUI manslaughter is a more severe charge and is considered a second-degree felony according to the law. This could mean facing up to 15 years in prison and having to pay a fine of up to $10,000—plus any costs or damages the victims might have incurred.
If you have been charged with a DUI, even if it is your first offense, then you should seek immediate legal advice from a Miami DUI lawyer who can advise you on your next step.
Stroleny Law, P.A. has an excellent criminal attorney who was a DUI prosecutor in Miami-Dade County. He can represent you in court when you are in need of legal representation.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.