DWI Penalties

Penalties for DWI Convictions

Penalties for a DWI conviction in Florida vary greatly depending on the situation.

FIRST TIME DWI OFFENSE —a Class B Misdemeanor:

Fines: not to exceed $2,000. In addition a surcharge of $1,000 per year for 3 years will be charged. If your blood alcohol level was found to be 0.16 or more this surcharge is doubled.

Jail time: 72 hours minimum to 180 days. If an open container is found minimum jail time is increased to 6 days. If a minor under 15 years of age was in the vehicle the maximum jail time can be up to 2 years.

For a first offense DWI conviction in Florida that results in a serious bodily injury or death, fines and jail times are substantially increased.

It is common for first time offenders to be granted community supervision (probation) in lieu of jail time. This probation is normally from 1 to 2 years with the following conditions:

  • Drug/alcohol evaluation
  • Completion of an approved DWI education class
  • Community service

License Suspension: 90 days for drivers over the age of 21, 180 days suspension for those refusing chemical testing. For those under the age of 21 who submit to chemical testing and registered any amount of alcohol in their system will face a 180 day suspension. First time offenders may be eligible for an occupational license (restricted to and from work or school) or a restricted license with installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle.

SECOND TIME DWI OFFENSE —a Class A Misdemeanor:

Fines: not to exceed $4,000. In addition a surcharge of $1,500 per year for 3 years will be charged. If your blood alcohol level was found to be 0.16 or more this surcharge is increased to $2,000.

Jail time: 72 hours minimum to not more than one year.

License Suspension: 180 days to 2 years. Occupational license may be granted. You are eligible for probation and although it is more difficult to get than a first offense, it can be granted. Requirements to satisfy probation are more demanding than for a first offense. You will be required to serve jail time (maximum of 30 days). Community service will be from 80 to 200 hours. You will most likely be required to have an IID (ignition interlock device) installed on your vehicle. You will be required to attend a 32 hour repeat offender program.

THIRD TIME DWI OFFENSE (OR GREATER) —Third Degree Felony

Fines: not to exceed $10,000. In addition a surcharge of $1,500 per year for 3 years will be charged. If your blood alcohol level was found to be 0.16 or more this surcharge is increased to $2,000.

Jail time: Confinement in penitentiary for not less than 2 years or more than ten years. Probation is available but is limited and is dependent on the court and the circumstances of the case. The court may order a confinement in a substance abuse facility for up to a year as part of probation requirements and from 160 to 600 hours of community service.

License Suspension: 180 days up to 2 years.

Being convicted of DUI three times is a strong indicator to the court that you may have a substance abuse problem. The court has the authority to order your confinement in a substance abuse facility for up to a year in lieu of incarceration such as the Substance Abuse Felony Probation (SAFP) program.

The law does not provide for any increased punishment after DWI, third offense. If a person presents a DWI, fourth offense or beyond, the typical punishment is confinement in the penitentiary from two (2) to ten (10) years without probation being granted. In some cases SAFP may be granted upon proper request and showing that it is appropriate.

Shock Probation

Shock probation is a program that is available under the law but is not commonly used in DWI cases. This type of probation is granted by a judge that reduces a prison sentence to probation after the convicted person has spent up to 6 months in prison. This program was created by the State Legislature in order to “shock” the person into never committing the crime again. Shock probation can also be recommended by the jury at sentencing.

The Duval County DWI Lawyers at the Dick Law Firm defend DWI cases on a regular basis. We have the experience with the Duval County Criminal Justice System that Jacksonville attorneys don’t have. Contact us for a free consultation as soon as possible if you find yourself in this situation. We are dedicated to protecting your legal rights and providing you the best possible outcome for your individual case.