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Penalties for a Third DUI

The consequences for a third DUI under Florida law are serious. Call us to discuss the particular facts of your case. Learn more about how prior convictions may impact the way your case is resolved.

Many people are shocked to learn about the draconian consequences that occur with a third DUI conviction particularly when the prior offenses occurred long ago or in a different state.

Not all DUI arrests will result in a conviction. Avoiding that conviction may save you thousands of dollars over the next three to five years from both the direct consequences and the indirect consequences. Those sanctions can include a possible TEN-year driver's license suspension or revocation.

You only have ten days after your arrest to hire an attorney to demand a formal review hearing to protect your driver's license.

If you would like to schedule a free consultation with us then call us to discuss your case. Find out more about the possible maximum and minimum penalties. Our attorneys are experienced in fighting a third DUI case in the courtrooms in Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County and the surrounding areas of Tampa Bay.

Call 813-250-0500.


10 Day Rule - Contesting the Driver's License Suspension

You also have 10 calendar days to request a formal review hearing of the administrative suspension of your driver's license after a third DUI arrest. 

For a third DUI, there is never a good reason not to request the formal review hearing. If you have any prior DUI conviction or even a prior administrative suspension then you are not qualified for immediate reinstatement.

Act quickly to hire an attorney to demand your formal review hearing and help you obtain a 42-day permit so you can continue driving for hardship reasons why your criminal defense attorney fights the case. 


21 Day Rule - Is the 3rd DUI a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

If you enter a plea to a charge of DUI in Florida and you have two prior DUI convictions on your driving record, then your case could be prosecuted as either a felony DUI or a misdemeanor DUI. After the arrest in Hillsborough County, FL, the State Attorney's Office in Tampa will review the police reports and your prior record to determine whether the case should be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony.

After the arrest in Hillsborough County, FL, the State Attorney's Office in Tampa will review the police reports and your prior record to determine whether the case should be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony.

In most cases, the prosecutor will make this filing decision within the first 21 days after the arrest. Therefore, in these cases, it is particularly important to hire an attorney as quickly as possible after the arrest. If you were not represented by an attorney for one of the prior DUI offense, then the prosecutor may have a difficult time using that prior plea for purposes of charging you with the felony DUI offense.


10 Year Driver's License Revocation

Additionally, it is important to consider the fact that regardless of how the court sentences you, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) may consider the offense a third DUI when imposing certain consequences. 

Those consequences can include a ten (10) year revocation of your driver's license for a third DUI that occurs within ten years of any prior DUI (even if one of the DUIs occurred out of state and is not known to the court or prosecutor at the time of sentencing).


Third DUI in Florida Outside of 10 Years

The first determination is whether your newest DUI case will be considered a third DUI within 10 years or outside of 10 years. The 10-year determination is made by looking at your most recent DUI conviction and determining whether it occurred within 10 years of your newest DUI arrest.

Under Florida law, if the third DUI occurs outside 10 years of any prior DUI, then you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor offense. The penalties and punishments are generally the same as a first DUI except that the statutory maximum jail term is 12 months and the ignition interlock device is required for two years.


Third DUI in Florida Within 10 Years

If the third DUI occurs within 10 years of any prior DUI, then under Florida law the prosecutor has the discretion to charge the offense as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If the offense is charged as a felony it is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The court must also impose a 10 year driver's license revocation.

Even if the prosecutor charges the offense as a third DUI within 10 years as a prior as a misdemeanor, certain enhanced penalties apply:

  • Jail Time: At least 30 days with at least 48 hours being served consecutively and up to 364 days in jail;
  • Fine: At least $2,000 but up to $5,000 (with blood / breath alcohol reading of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle then the fine will not be less than $4,000);
  • Vehicle Impoundment: The court must order the vehicle be impounded for ninety (90) days;
  • Driver's License Revocation: For a third DUI conviction, the court must impose a minimum 10 years revocation and not eligible for a hardship reinstatement for at least the first two years;
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device: The court must impose a requirement that you install the ignition interlock device for at least twenty-four months;
  • DUI School: The court will require the driver complete DUI school as a condition of probation which includes both classroom instruction, a substance abuse evaluation, and completion of any recommended follow-up treatment.

Finding an Attorney for a 3rd DUI in Tampa, FL

If you are facing a third DUI in Florida, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your case. Call the Sammis Law Firm for a free consultation in the office or over the phone. Call 813-250-0500 today.

Find out more about fighting to reduce the charges to reckless driving to avoid a driver license suspension and other more serious penalties.


This article was last updated on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.