DUI Felony Conviction
As experienced Palm Beach and Broward County DUI defense attorneys, we know that the laws relating to DUI offenses in the State of Florida can be a bit confusing, and so we are taking the time to break it down for you. A DUI, in the State of Florida, is committed when an individual is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while at the same time under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances listed in s. 877.111 or other controlled substances listed in chapter 893; the person has a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or the person has a breath-alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, according to s. 316.193(1)(a-c).
The crimes for first and early DUI offenses are misdemeanors, the punishments for which we describe here.
However, an individual who has been convicted of a third DUI within 10 years of a prior DUI is guilty of a third-degree felony (according to s. 316.193), which entails a punishment prescribed by s. 775.082. According to s. 775.082, an individual found guilty of having committed a third-degree felony (such as a third DUI within 10 years of a prior DUI) faces up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines.
When we deal with prior DUIs, be aware that we are referring to any and all DUI convictions that you have had in the past, regardless of the state in which you were convicted of the crime. Even out of state convictions count as priors in Florida; a prior, regardless of where it took place, is always a prior and never goes away and it will count against you if and when you get another DUI in that same state or in a new state.
Similarly, as our Palm Beach and Broward County DUI defense attorneys know, according to s. 316.193, an individual who has been convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI—regardless of when the previous DUI took place—will also be guilty of a third-degree felony. As such, such a person faces up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines. For this crime of a fourth or subsequent DUI, though, the fines may not be less than $2,000. In addition to the jail time and/or fines, the convicted individual must pay for an ignition interlock device to be approved by the local law enforcement department upon all vehicles owned or leased either individually or jointly by the convicted individual (when the convicted individual qualifies for a permanent or restricted license).
Furthermore, any person who, while driving under the influence of any of the aforementioned substances, causes serious bodily injury to another, commits a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines. (If the offender who has caused serious bodily injury is a habitual or violent felony offender, they face punishment as prescribed in s. 775.084.)
If you have been arrested for or charged with a DUI in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, contact the DUI defense attorneys at Leifert & Leifert immediately. As you can see, once you start racking-up DUI convictions, the punishments increase and it becomes harder and harder to mount a viable defense. The best way to handle a first DUI conviction is not to have one in the first place. Often times, our firm can have charges dismissed via a diversion program for first-time offenders. For a free consultation, call us at 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363).