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What Happens if You Get a DUI in Florida?

Alcohol abuse is a common issue in the United States and more than 50% of Americans drink on a regular basis. While some people can drink safely in moderation, others tend to make bad decisions. One of the most common bad choices that people make is driving while under the influence.

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, “Every day, about 32 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes.”[1] Many drunk driving accidents are the result of binge drinking.

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol doesn’t just put you at risk, it puts other people in danger too. As a result, laws are in place to protect people from drunk drivers as well as punish those who drive drunk. In Florida, if you are caught driving while under the influence of a substance, you will receive a DUI charge.

What is a DUI in Florida?

Florida DUI laws can be confusing if you have never learned about them. Basically, if you are over the legal limit of alcohol consumption and you drive a car, you will receive a DUI. But what is the legal limit?

Like other states, Florida considers a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher as over the limit. If you seem drunk when you are pulled over, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer test. If the test finds that you have a BAC of 0.008% or higher, you will receive a DUI charge. 

There are multiple ways to get a DUI charge. You don’t have to fail a breathalyzer test for an officer to decide that you are too intoxicated to drive. Police officers will be allowed to make a judgment about whether you are impaired based on how you are driving, walking, or talking. 

It is also important to note that you can get a DUI for being under the influence of any mind-altering substance in Florida. This means that drinking alcohol, smoking weed, or taking any other forms of illicit drugs while you are driving a car will result in a DUI.

What Happens When You Get a DUI In Florida?

If you get pulled over for driving under the influence, it is important to know what the next steps are. After the initial arrest, you will attend at least one court date. During your court date(s) a judge will determine what punishments you should face for your DUI charge. Typically, DUIs are misdemeanors, however, the punishments can still be harsh. 

Let’s take a look at the specifics of what could happen when you get charged with a DUI in the Sunshine State.[2]


Driving while under the influence isn’t just dangerous, it’s also expensive. Even after your first DUI, you can receive a fine of $500 or higher. How expensive your fines are will depend on the BAC level you were driving under. 

For example, if you blew higher than 0.15%, your fines could be up to $1,000, but if you are a repeat DUI offender you can expect up to $2,000 in fines.

Community Service

Oftentimes, one of the requirements you will receive after getting charged for a DUI is community service. How much community service you have to do will vary from case to case.

Typically, the first DUI offense will come with a requirement of 50 hours of community service, which you can skip if you pay $10 per hour of community service. In other words, getting a DUI will cost you money and time. 


Most first-time DUI offenders in Florida will receive a minimum of 6 months of probation. This means 6 months of probation office visits, drug tests, and possibly even substance abuse classes. This could also limit your ability to travel during the 6 months that you are on probation. 

Jail Time 

While jail time isn’t always required, it is a possibility whether it is your first or third time getting a DUI. For your first offense, you can face up to 6 months of jail time. However, if your BAC was 0.15% or higher, the minimum amount of jail time goes up to 9 months. 

For a second DUI offense, you face up to 9 months of jail time. If you get a third DUI within 10 years of your second offense, you have to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail. The maximum sentence for this charge would be a year in prison. 

License Suspension 

After getting a DUI in Florida, you may have your license suspended. How long your license will be suspended depends on the specific details of your case. The minimum length of time for a first-time offender would be 180 days without a license. 

If you are a first-time offender, you can apply for a hardship license so you can still get to and from work. However, if you get more than one DUI charge, you can no longer apply for hardship. 

Finding Help for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one have been through the process of getting a DUI in Florida but you still can’t get your drinking under control, you likely suffer from a problem with alcohol. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a sign that you are struggling with an alcohol use disorder. Alcoholism is a dangerous condition that can cause legal troubles, health issues, and social isolation. 

Here at Mandala Healing Center, our world-class detox and treatment program can help you detox from alcohol safely, address the root cause of your addiction, and embrace a sober lifestyle. Contact us today to find out if our alcohol rehab program is right for you.