Unlike first arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) in which alleged offenders can more believably claim that they were unaware of how intoxicated they were at the times they were operating motor vehicles, it is usually believed that people charged with drunk driving for a second time should have known better. As a result, the state of Florida imposes steep penalties on alleged repeat drunk drivers.
When a person is accused of a DUI offense for the second time, he or she can face enhanced charges that result in long jail sentences and bigger fines. The date of the prior arrest can impact the severity of the criminal charges, but the location will not, as even out-of-state drunk driving convictions can be counted against alleged offenders.
If you were arrested in South Florida for allegedly drunk driving for the second time, it is in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. aggressively defends clients accused of drunk driving crimes in communities throughout Broward County, including Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, and many others.
Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale who have experience on both sides of the aisle, which allows our firm to understand the weaknesses in a prosecutor’s case that can lead to criminal charges being reduced or dismissed. They can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (954) 716-8538 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Under Chapter 28.1 of the Florida Standard Jury Instructions, a prosecutor must prove both of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict an alleged offender of DUI:
Under Florida Statute § 316.193(6)(b), the time frame commonly referred to as a “look back” or “washout” period for prior DUI convictions that can be counted against alleged offenders is five years. This means that people who are arrested for second drunk driving offenses within five years of their prior convictions can face enhanced penalties.
When a person’s second drunk driving arrest occurs more than five years after the prior DUI conviction, the individual can face the same second-degree misdemeanor charges as first-time offenders. Convictions are punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, a minimum of 50 hours of participation in a public service or a community work project, and completion of a Level I DUI program.
If an alleged offender is arrested for DUI within five years of a previous drunk driving conviction, then the alleged crime becomes a first-degree misdemeanor. Convictions are punishable by a minimum of 10 days up to nine months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000, but alleged offenders arrested for having BACs of 0.15 or higher can be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
A second DUI arrest more than five years after the original drunk driving conviction typically results in a person’s driver’s license being suspended for up to one year, but offenses that occur within five years of the previous convictions can lead to an individual’s license being suspended for a minimum of five years and no restricted driving privileges being available for the first 12 months. All alleged DUI offenders have only 10 days to request formal review hearings in order to contest any possible administrative suspension of their driver's licenses.
Florida Statute § 316.193(6)(b) also establishes that when a person is convicted of a second DUI offense within a period of five years after the date of a prior DUI conviction, the court must, as a condition of probation, order the impoundment or immobilization of all vehicles owned by the defendant at the time of impoundment or immobilization, for a period of 30 days or for the unexpired term of any lease or rental agreement that expires within 30 days. Courts will also order the placement, at the sole expense of alleged offenders, of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for at least one year upon all vehicles that are individually or jointly leased or owned and routinely operated by the alleged offenders, although the minimum required length of time an IID must be maintained is two years if the alleged offender had a BAC of 0.15 or higher.
Florida DUI Laws | Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) — View a list of the different kinds of penalties for DUI convictions in Florida, including the increased penalties for repeat offenses. In addition to fines and imprisonment, information here includes information about DUI school requirements, business purposes only/employment purposes only reinstatements, and administrative suspensions.
Impaired Driving | Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) — On this section of the FDOT website, you can learn more about recent impaired driving education campaigns. You can also find information about impaired driving safety grants FDOT has awarded to local law enforcement agencies, local community organizations, and other agencies. The website also lists all of the Florida Impaired Driving Coalition partners.
Were you arrested for your second alleged drunk driving offense anywhere in Broward County? Do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted Meltzer & Bell, P.A..
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell represent residents and visitors arrested in Margate, Coconut Creek, Hallandale Beach, Wilton Manors, Sunrise, Deerfield Beach, Weston, Tamarac, and several surrounding areas of South Florida. Call (954) 716-8538 or fill out an online contact form to have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
Click here to learn what Meltzer & Bell can do for you regarding your DUI by visiting our traffic department.