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Penalties in DUI Cases

If you have been arrested for DUI in Florida, find out more about the potential maximum and minimum penalties allowed under the statute. Contact the attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, to discuss possible strategies to avoid these harsh penalties.

In order to assist you with finding more information, we created a page describing the penalties and punishments for a variety of different types of DUI charges including:


DUI Penalties and Punishments

· DUI Fines under Florida Law
· DUI Community Service Requirement in Florida
· DUI Jail Time Provisions under Florida Law
· DUI Vehicle Immobilization Requirement in Florida
· DUI Felony Penalties under Florida Law
· DUI Driver License Revocation after a DUI Conviction in Florida


Punishments for a First DUI in Florida

Unless you avoid a DUI conviction, the Court must impose the following minimum mandatory punishments if you enter a plea of guilty or no contest to a first DUI in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL:

  • Incarceration (Jail Time):

    • Up to 6 (six) months in the Hillsborough County Jail
    • If the blood alcohol reading is .15 or higher or a minor child was a passenger in the vehicle then the jail time is up to 9 (nine) months;
  • Period of Probation: Up to 12 (twelve) months of probation;
  • Community Service Hours: Required minimum of 50 hours of community service (although the judge may permit you to "buy out" any number of hours at a rate of $10 per hour);
  • Fine: Minimum fine of $500 but up to $1,000
    • with a blood alcohol reading of .15 or higher or if a minor was in the vehicle, then the minimum fine is $1,000 but up to $2,000.
    • For those individuals that are unable to pay the fines because of financial circumstances, the Court may allow the individual to perform community service hours for $10 credit per hour that goes towards the fines;
  • Period of Florida Driver's License Revocation: At least a six (6) month suspension with a maximum suspension of up to twelve (12) months which runs concurrent with any administrative suspension;
  • Hardship Driving Permit: Business Purposes Only or Employment Purposes Only Reinstatement: After the driver has completed DUI school, he way apply for a possible hardship reinstatement for business purposes or employment purposes only;
  • Immobilization or Impoundment of Vehicle: The Judge is required to impose a 10 day of vehicle immobilization condition that cannot be served at the same time as the jail term.
    • The court can grant an exception if the impoundment presents a hardship to a family member that has no other means of transportation or if the vehicle is used only by an employee of the defendant or if the vehicle is owed by the defendant's business.
  • DUI School: The judge must impose a requirement that the driver complete either Level I DUI School (twelve (12) hour class or Level II DUI School. The requirement that you complete DUI school also means that you must undergo a drug and alcohol abuse evaluation and completion of any recommended follow-up treatment.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: The judge is not required to impose an ignition interlock device be installed unless the driver's blood alcohol reading was .15 or higher or a minor was in the vehicle in which case the court is required to impose this requirement for six (6) months.

DUI Fines

  • First DUI Conviction: Not less than $500, or more than $1,000.
    • If your chemical test shows a Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15% or higher or if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle then the fine is not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.
  • Second DUI Conviction: Not less than $500, or more than $1,000.
    • If your chemical test showed a BAL of .15% or higher or if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle then the file is not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.
  • Third DUI Conviction More than 10 years: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,500.
    • If your chemical test showed a BAL of .15% or higher or if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle then the fine is not less than $2,000.
  • Third Conviction Within 10 years: Not more than $5,000.
    • If your chemical test showed a BAL of .15% or higher or if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle then the fine is not less than $2,000.
  • Fourth or Subsequent DUI Conviction: Not less than $1,000.
    • If your chemical test showed a BAL of .15% or higher or if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle then the fine is not less than $2,000.

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DUI Community Service Requirements

For the first conviction of DUI, the Court is required to impose a minimum of 50 (fifty) hours of community service, however the Court may allow you to buy out a portion of the community service hours by paying an additional fine in the amount of $10.00 per every hour that you are allowed to buy out. In some DUI cases in Hillsborough County, the court will require you to perform 16 hours with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Work Detail. 

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DUI Mandatory Terms of Imprisonment (Jail Time)

  • First DUI Conviction: Not more than 6 months.
    • If your chemical test showed a BAL of .15% or higher or if a child was a passenger in the vehicle: Not more than 9 months.
  • Second DUI Conviction: Not more than 9 months.
    • If your chemical test showed a BAL of .15% or higher or if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle: Not more than 12 months.
    • If your second conviction occurred within 5 years of your first conviction, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days.
    • At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.
  • Third DUI Conviction: If the third conviction occurred within 10 years of a prior conviction, mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days.
    • At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.
    • If the third conviction occurred more than 10 years after any other conviction, then imprisonment for not more than 12 months.
  • Fourth or Subsequent DUI Conviction: Five years in Florida State Prison, or more if allowed under Florida Statute 775.084 for a habitual violent offender.

The court may, in its sole discretion, credit time spent in a residential alcohol and substance abuse program toward any mandatory jail time required by statute.


Residential Alcohol Treatment Instead of Mandatory Jail Time

In many serious DUI cases that come with mandatory jail time, the criminal defense attorney will talk with their client about the benefits of seeking residential treatment which can often off-set the jail time that would otherwise be required. For instance, HealthCare Connection of Tampa, Inc. ("HCC") provides a continuum of services for chemical dependency treatment including residential treatment after a DUI arrest. The facility focused on the care of professionals such as physicians, attorneys, nurses, pharmacists, etc. Read more about defending a physician or health care professional charged with a crime such as DUI. 

Many of the clients that seek treatment at HealthCare Connection of Tampa are non-professions with a pending DUI charge (especially for a second or subsequent offense). 

HCC also provides treatment to persons with dual diagnoses such as Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorder and Major Depression. Services provided range from inpatient and ambulatory detoxification to primary and extended care treatment. HCC also provides treatment from halfway, three quarter way and aftercare services. 

For residential programs such as HCC, the patient typically participates in therapeutic groups, neuro-biofeedback sessions, and individual therapy. The neuro-biofeedback sessions are aimed at decreasing impulsivity and aiding in relaxation and meditation practices. The individual treatment plan includes assignments aimed at breaking through denial by challenging the denial system, gaining an understanding of the concepts of powerlessness and unmanageability after the first drink. Specialized objectives including increasing coping skills, increasing knowledge of the disease of addiction, and identifying emotions. AA/NA meetings are a vital part of many of these programs. 

The goal of treatment is being able to open up and place trust in the treatment professionals as well as developing a close relationship with therapist and peers. During group counseling sessions, the participants learn to help hold peers accountable and organize their community to run efficiently. The counseling also helps the patient develop appropriate coping strategies and relapse prevention techniques. Aftercare counseling helps to decrease the chance of relapsing as the patient implements changes in their life for recovery after leaving residential treatment. 

For professionals such as physicians seeking treatment after a DUI arrest (especially for a second or subsequent arrest), the physician must often complete residential treatment to retain their medical license. After the residential program is over, the physician must often engage in a monitoring contract with the Professional Resource Network (PRN). Monitoring contracts are individualized for each participant but generally last for five (5) years and include a daily check in for random urine drug screening, a weekly support group meeting and several 12 step meetings per week.  

If you are interested in seeking residential treatment after a DUI arrest to minimize the chance that you might be sentenced to jail time, then talk with your criminal defense attorney about this important sentencing provision in Florida's DUI statutes. 

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Vehicle Immobilization

Unless the defendant can show that the vehicle immobilization would create a hardship for a family member who has no other means of transportation or that the vehicle is utilized only by an employee for a business owned by the defendant, the court will impose the following period of vehicle immobilization which begins after any period of incarceration is completed.

The requirements for vehicle immobilization include:

  • First DUI Conviction = 10 days of vehicle immobilization;
  • Second DUI Conviction within 5 years = 30 days of vehicle immobilization; or
  • Third DUI Conviction within 10 years = 90 days of vehicle immobilization.

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Felony DUI for Fourth or Subsequent Offense:

  • If any person is convicted of a third within 10 years of a prior conviction or if a fourth or subsequent DUI is committed, then the crime can be charged as a Third Degree Felony with a fine of not more than $5,000 and up to five (5) years imprisonment in Florida State Prison).

Felony DUI with Serious Bodily injury:

  • Any person who causes a serious bodily injury in any other person while driving under the influence is guilty of a Third Degree Felony with a fine of not more than $5,000 and up to five (5) years imprisonment in Florida State Prison.

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Court Ordered Period of Driver's License Revocation for DUI Conviction:

  • First DUI Conviction: Minimum 180 days revocation up to a maximum of one (1) year.
  • Second DUI Conviction: Within Five (5) Years: Minimum 5 years revocation, although the driver may be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after one (1) year.
    • If the second DUI was outside of five (5) years of any prior conviction, then the driver’s license revocation is the same as a first DUI conviction discussed above.
  • Third DUI Conviction: Within Ten (10) Years: Minimum 10 years revocation, although the driver may be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after two (2) years.
    • If the third DUI was outside of ten (10) years of any prior conviction, then the driver’s license revocation is the same as a first DUI conviction discussed above.
  • Fourth DUI Conviction: (Regardless of When Any Prior Convictions Occurred): Mandatory permanent revocation with a possible hardship reinstatement allowed after a minimum of five years beginning October 1, 2011.
  • Murder with Motor Vehicle: Mandatory permanent revocation with no hardship reinstatement allowed.
  • Felony DUI Manslaughter: Mandatory permanent revocation, although the driver may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after five (5) years if the driver has no prior DUI convictions.
  • Manslaughter: Minimum three (3) year revocation.
  • Felony DUI with Serious Bodily Injury: Minimum three (3) year revocation.
  • Vehicular Homicide: Minimum three (3) year revocation.

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Business Purpose and Employment Purpose Only Reinstatement:

  • First DUI Conviction: Driver must complete DUI school and apply for a DMV hearing for possible hardship reinstatement.
    • If the chemical test results showed a BAL of .15% or higher, then an ignition interlock device is mandatory for up to six months.
  • Second or Subsequent DUI Conviction: No hardship license except as explained below, and the ignition interlock devise is required for one year.
  • Second DUI Conviction Within 5 Years: A five (5) year revocation is required, and the driver may apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after one year if DUI school as been completed, and the driver remains in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period.
    • The applicant must not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for twelve (12) months prior to reinstatement.
    • The ignition interlock devise is required for a period of one (1) year, and if the chemical test showed a BAL of .15%, then the ignition interlock devise is required for a period of two (2) years.
  • Third DUI Conviction Within 10 Years: A ten (10) year revocation is required, and the driver may apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after two years if DUI school is completed, and the driver remains in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period.
    • The applicant must not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for twelve (12) months prior to reinstatement.
    • The ignition interlock device is required for a period of two (2) years.
  • Fourth DUI Conviction: A mandatory permanent revocation of the driver's license is required, however beginning October 1, 2011, the driver could become eligible for a possible hardship reinstatement after a minimum of five years have lapsed during which the subject does not drive or consume alcohol or drugs along with other requirements.
  • DUI Manslaughter With No Prior DUI Related Convictions: A permanent revocation is required, however the driver may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after five (5) years have expired from either the date of revocation or the date that incarceration ended provided the following requirements have been met:
    1. The driver has not been arrested for a drug-related offense for at least 5 years prior to the hearing.
    2. The driver has been alcohol and drug-free for at least 5 years prior to the hearing; and
    3. The driver has completed DUI school and been supervised under the DUI program for the remainder of the revocation period. (failure to report for counseling or treatment shall result in cancellation of the hardship license).
    4. The ignition interlock devise is required for two (2) years.
  • Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide Convictions: A three (3) year revocation is required, however the driver may immediately apply for a hardship reinstatement hearing after completing DUI school or the advanced driver improvement course.

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References to DUI Florida Statute 316.193

Adjudication - F.S. 316.656(1)

Probation - F.S. 316.193(5)

Fine - F.S. 316.193(2)

Substance Abuse Program - F.S. 316.193(5)

Public Service - F.S. 316.193(6)(a)

License Suspension - 322.28

Immobilization - F.S. 316.193(6)

Jail - F.S. 316.193.193(6)

Interlock Device - F.S. 316.193(7)

Court Costs - 938

Restitution - 775.089


Avoiding the DUI Penalties in Florida

The minimum mandatory statutory requirements for a DUI conviction in Florida are harsh. Contact the Sammis Law Firm to talk with an attorney who is experienced in fighting DUI cases in Tampa, Florida. Read more about our case results. Call us to discuss possible ways to avoid a DUI conviction and driver's license suspension.

Call 813-250-0500 after your arrest for driving under the influence today for any DUI arrest in Tampa or Plant City in Hillsborough County, or any of the surrounding counties in the Tampa Bay area.


Article last updated by on Friday, February 3, 2017.