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Prior Convictions for DUI

Florida has adopted an escalating schedule of mandatory fines and maximum jail sentences depending on whether the DUI conviction is the person’s first, second, third, fourth or subsequent offense.

The court must adjudicate and sentence the person convicted immediately upon acceptance of a plea or after a jury verdict of guilty. See F.S. 316.656. The court is not permitted to withhold adjudication (the conviction).

A prior DUI conviction in Florida is usually known by the prosecutor because it shows up on the person's driving record. The DHSMV can specify a period of revocation longer than that specified by the court based on the number of convictions on the driving record even if the minimum required revocation is not imposed by the court.

Even a prior boating under the influence (BUI) conviction will count as a prior conviction for purposes of enhancing the jail and fines but not for purposes of enhancing a driver’s license suspension. See Florida Statute Section 316.193(6)(k); 316.193(6)(b) and (c).

The question is whether a prior DUI from out-of-state will be used against you to enhance the penalty. In a small majority of cases, the prior out-of-state conviction will not show up on the Florida driving record including a prior:

What if My Prior Conviction Doesn't Show Up?

If it does not show up on the driving record, there is a chance that the prosecutor does not try to enhance the penalty. In other words, the prior out-of-state conviction will not count against you. Nevertheless, if the prior conviction ever pops up on the person's Florida driving record, then the DHSMV will take immediate action to impose a longer period of revocation than that imposed by the judge.

What Happens if the Court Fails to Revoke?

Furthermore, if the court fails to revoke the driver's license at sentencing then Florida Statute Section 322.28(2)(b) might come into play.

Florida Statute Section 322.28(2)(b) provides:

(b) If the period of revocation was no specified by the court at the time of imposing sentencing or within 30 days thereafter, and it is not otherwise specified by law, the department shall forthwith revoke the driver's license or driving privilege for the meximum period applicable under paragraph (a) for a first conviction and for the minimum period appicable under paragraph (A) for any subsequent convictions. The driver may, within 30 days after such revocation by the department, petition the court for further hearing on the period of revocation within the limits specified in paragraph (a).

What Rules Apply to Prior Convictions for DUI in Florida?

These rules generally apply:

  • If asked, the defendant has the right to remain silent concerning any prior DUI convictions. Fla. R. Traf. Ct. 6180(a) and (b).
  • Under Florida Statute Section 316.193(6)(k), any out-of-state conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving while unlawaful blood alcohol level (DUBAL), or any similar alcohol related or drug related traffic offense can count as a prior conviction with required minimum and maximum enhancements.
  • A prior misdemeanor conviction can be considered even while on appeal as a prior.
  • Statute Section 316.193(12) provides that records of the DHSMV are sufficient "by itself" to establish the prior DUI convictions. The person accused, however, can contradict or rebutt that presumption with other evidence. This presumption "may be considered along with any other evidence presented in deciding whether the defendant has been previously convicted of the offense of driving under the influence."

If you have questions about a second, third, fourth or subsequent DUI, then call the DUI attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your case. Call 813-250-0500.

Article last updated by on Thursday, December 11, 2014.