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Fourth DUI Penalties

If you have been arrested for a fourth DUI in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, the case can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. If the case is charged as a felony, the charge is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison and a $5,000 fine. The most serious consequence of a fourth DUI conviction is a lifetime revocation of your driver's license.

Even if the court or the prosecutor do not treat the case as a fourth DUI, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will still impose a lifetime revocation if four DUI convictions appear on your driving record regardless of whether the court imposed any suspension.

Contact a DUI Lawyer in Tampa, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss this very serious felony offense with serious criminal penalties. Call 813-250-0500.

Florida Statute Section 316.193(2)(b)(3)

Florida Statute Section 316.193(2)(b)(3) provides that a fourth conviction for a DUI constitutes a third-degree felony. However, the prosecutor may be precluded from using prior misdemeanor convictions to support a felony DUI conviction under this provision if:

  1. the prior convictions occurred when the person convicted was not represented by an attorney;
  2. the defendant was indigent and entitled to court-appointed counsel;
  3. the defendant did not waive the right to counsel, and
  4. the convictions were punishable by imprisonment.

State v. Kelly, 999 So.2d 1029, 1053 (Fla.2008). If the prosecutor has charged a DUI as a felony based upon a belief that three prior convictions had occurred, the defendant bears the initial burden of showing through a written motion under oath that at least one of the prior convictions should be eliminated.

As a practical matter, it is often more difficult for the prosecutor to prove prior convictions if the convictions are more than 10 years old or if the convictions occurred in another state.

Permanent Lifetime Ban - Florida Driver's License Revocation

Perhaps the most serious consequence of a fourth DUI conviction is that a Fourth DUI in Florida results in a permanent revocation of your driver's license (regardless of whether it is treated as a first, second, third, or subsequent DUI by the trial court at sentencing).

If this DUI is the Fourth DUI that appears on your driving record either now or in the future, then your driver's license will be permanently revoked. Florida law now provides that it is possible to obtain a hardship license after serving ten (10) years of the revocation period.

After the 10 years the person becomes eligible to apply for a hardship driver's license in the Administrative Reviews Office where the person lives. The person must complete DUI School and all recommended treatment if referred.

The person must also have a favorable recommendation from the Special Supervision Services program to be eligible for a hardship license. Once approval to reinstate for a hardship license, the driver must present the approval to the driver license office to do the following:

  • take the driver's license examination;
  • pay an administrative fee;
  • pay a reinstatement fee;
  • pay any license fee; and
  • show proof of bodily injury liability insurance with appropriate limits.

The person must remain in the Special Supervision Services Program to retain the hardship license. Even if you manage to get a hardship license, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) under sections 322.271(5)(c) and 322.28(5), Florida Statutes (2015), can dismiss a person from the SSSP and the cancel the hardship license under certain circumstances.

Section 322.271 is entitled “Authority to modify revocation, cancellation, or suspension order.” Subsection (5) of the statute provides in part:[A] person whose driving privilege has been permanently revoked because he or she has been convicted four or more times of violating s. 316.193 [addressing DUI offenses] or former s. 316.1931 may, upon the expiration of 5 years after the date of the last conviction ... petition the department for reinstatement of his or her driving privilege.§ 322.271(5), Fla. Stat. (2015).

The Department may “reinstate” a “petitioner's driver license.” § 322.271(5)(b), Fla. Stat. (2015). One of the reinstatement qualifications is that the “petitioner must be supervised by a DUI program licensed by the department ....” § 322.271(5)(b) 2., Fla. Stat. (2015). Supervision must include “evaluation, education, referral into treatment, and other activities required by the department.” Id.

Section 322.271(5)(c) provides, “The petitioner must assume the reasonable costs of supervision. If the petitioner does not comply with the required supervision, the program shall report the failure to the department, and the department shall cancel such person's driving privilege.”

Section 322.28 is entitled “Period of suspension or revocation.” The first four subsections of the statute detail those circumstances in which the Department must either suspend or revoke an individual's driver's license. Subsection (5) of the statute provides: A court may not stay the administrative suspension of a driving privilege under s. 322.2615 or s. 322.2616 during judicial review of the departmental order that resulted in such suspension, and a suspension or revocation of a driving privilege may not be stayed upon an appeal of the conviction or order that resulted in the suspension or revocation. § 322.28(5), Fla. Stat. (2015). See State, Dept. of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles v. Peacock, 185 So. 3d 632, 634 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016).

Finding an Attorney for a 4th DUI in Tampa, FL

Contact the DUI Defense Attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your arrest and prosecution for a fourth DUI in Tampa or Plant City in Hillsborough County, FL, or the surrounding counties. At the Sammis Law Firm, our attorneys provide free consultations.

Call us to discuss fighting to avoid a DUI conviction by getting the charges reduced to reckless driving to avoid more serious penalties.

This article was last updated on Friday, May 13, 2016.