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Miami Criminal Defense Attorney / Blog / Criminal Defense / What Are the Penalties for a DUI First Offense in Florida?

What Are the Penalties for a DUI First Offense in Florida?


A drunk driving arrest is often the first time many Miami-Dade residents find themselves dealing directly with Florida’s criminal justice system. The experience is understandably overwhelming and scary. If you are in this position, you will no doubt have many questions about the penalties you face if convicted of DUI. Will I go to jail? Will I lose my driver’s license? Will I need to perform community service?

How DUI Penalties Work in Florida

Florida law establishes the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI). These penalties typically escalate depending on the defendant’s prior record of DUI convictions. In other words, first offenders typically face less harsh penalties than a second- or third-time offender. But even a first offender can face more serious consequences based on the presence of certain aggravating factors.

The penalties for a first offense Florida DUI break down as follows:

  • a fine of between $500 and $1,000;
  • imprisonment for not more than 6 months;
  • at least 50 hours of community service;
  • a term of probation, which combined with any prison time cannot exceed 1 year; and
  • suspension of the driver’s license for a period of up to 1 year;
  • impoundment of the driver’s vehicle for at least 10 days; and
  • mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on the driver’s vehicle for six months or more.

Judges have a certain degree of discretion when it comes to sentencing, so not every penalty listed above will apply in every first-offense DUI case. Additionally, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles can–and will–administratively suspend a driver’s license even without a criminal conviction. The typical administrative suspension period for a first offender is 6 months. And in cases where a driver refused to take a chemical (i.e., Brethalyzer) test following a DUI arrest, the administrative suspension period is 1 year under Florida’s “implied consent” law.

What Factors Can Increase a First-Offense DUI Penalty in Florida?

There are a number of factors that can lead to harsher DUI penalties for a first offender and even additional criminal charges. Some of the more common examples of these aggravating factors include:

  • the presence of a minor in the driver’s vehicle at the time of their DUI arrest;
  • the driver’s blood-alcohol content was 0.15 percent or higher;
  • the driver caused an accident that resulted in property damage or seriously bodily harm to others; or
  • the driver caused an accident that resulted in the death of another person.

In some cases, the presence of one of these factors may lead to a felony charge against a driver, regardless of whether or not they had any prior criminal record.

Contact Asilia Law Firm Today

As you can see, a DUI conviction can lead to significant penalties and turn your life upside down. That is why it is important to work with an experienced Miami criminal attorney who can review your case and aggressively protect your rights in court. Contact Asilia Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation.

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