Florida DUI Penalties

Have you or a family member been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Tampa? This is a time of uncertainty and concern. You may be wondering exactly what is going to happen next and what the penalties could be in the event of a conviction. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and call for help. Until you do, you and your family members will probably be the only ones concerned about preserving your rights. We will aggressively defend your case. Without an aggressive defense team behind you, you may face higher penalties if convicted. We will meet with you either by phone or in-person for a free confidential consultation to discuss the possibilities and answer your questions.


The possibility of a conviction is dependent on 2 things. One is the amount of evidence the prosecutor has on you. The second is how skilled and savvy your Tampa DUI lawyer is. The amount and type of evidence the prosecution has against you will influence the outcome of your case. When your lawyer is well-versed in Tampa DUI cases and has excellent knowledge, skill, and strategy, you may be able to avoid a conviction or have a lesser or alternative sentence if convicted.

There are 2 types of cases in a DUI arrest. One is a civil case regarding an administrative driver’s license suspension. The other is a criminal case that results in penalties including jail time, fines and probation upon conviction. Individual circumstances and the number of convictions will impact the penalties. The State of Florida requires mandatory minimums for DUI convictions. You may face harsher punishment, depending on the details of your case.  For example, if your breath test exceeded .15 blood alcohol content, there was property damage or there was a minor in the vehicle, the minimum penalties are more severe. On the other hand, time spent in residential alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation programs may be credited toward jail time if you are convicted, depending on the individual circumstances. This summary is intended as a quick reference guide only and should not be used in lieu of the full text of the law or legal advice.

Administrative Hearing

You have the right to schedule an administrative hearing within 10 days of your arrest. You may have an attorney present with you at the hearing. A skilled DUI lawyer can help reduce any penalties of suspension at this hearing. It does not decide whether you are guilty of a criminal act, but whether your arrest procedure followed certain ground rules, any refusal to take the test and whether your license should be suspended or revoked.

Criminal Proceeding

The criminal hearing determines how your conviction is classified and what penalties may be assessed. This includes incarceration, fines, and fees to be paid, length of license suspension, possibility of parole, community service, alcohol or drug program requirements and ignition interlock device installation, among others.

1st Offense

Jail time is up to one year, with a mandatory minimum of 6 months probation; driver’s license suspension of 6 months; vehicle impounded for 10 days; 50 hours of community service an or added fine of $10 per hour of community service required; fines of $500-$1,000.

2nd Offense

Jail time is up to 9 months, or mandatory incarceration of a 10-day minimum if the conviction is within 5 years of the first; driver’s license suspension for 12 months; vehicle impounded for 30 days; fines from $1,000-$2,000.

3rd Offense (occurs in more than 10 years)

Imprisonment of up to 1 year (or at least 30 days with 48 consecutive hours if convicted within 10 years); fines between $2,000 and $5,000.

4th Offense

Up to 5 years of incarceration; fines at a minimum of $2,000. Those found to be habitual/violent offenders may have different penalties.


In the case of an accident that involves personal injury or property damage, the convicted driver faces up to $1,000 in fines or 1 year of jail time.


In the case of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or someone who has been designated a repeat offender and has committed a third-degree felony will face a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 5 years of incarceration.

To make an appointment to discuss your case with a qualified Tampa DUI attorney, contact us today.