DUI confusion… bright lights surrounding you and a car you barely even remember hopping into, letting alone driving. A police officer approaches with another bright light shining in your face. Now, you’re coming to…
You’re behind the wheel. And, to make matters worse, you’re completely drunk! The traffic cop says:
“Do you know you’ve been in an accident?”
Sounds like a DUI. Now, what in the world are you going to do?
A Florida DUI Story: Wait… Why Was I Driving?
You step out the car and see your tire blown and the rim on the ground. There’s a dent, but you have no idea how it got there. Matter of fact, you have no idea where or how you got to where you are.
Who let you have your car keys?!!!!!
The embarrassment sets in as you realize you are in deep shiiiii, and you are going to jail for a DUI. You try to tell the officer that instead of going through the steps of finding out you’re intoxicated, that he can just take you in.
But no, the added humility factor is having you perform field sobriety tests they know you will fail… in the middle of the intersection!
Then it hits, you are being detained by police for driving drunk. The panic sets in as you realize that one wrong move could make you a hashtag. What do you do? What can you do?
Running, will cause more harm than facing the music. Begging and pleading to not be arrested gets you locked in solitary for 12 hours for being “too emotional.” You’re doomed to spending a night in your Florida jail dunk tank.
Arrested for a DUI: Off to the Drunk Tank You Go
So now, you’re barely sober, in a Florida drunk tank… waiting under even more bright lights. A cold plate of putrid smelling cold hot dogs, and something that looks like it might have been beans are sitting near you.
You stink, you’re hung over and you want to go home.
Sitting in a Florida Drunk Tank
Hours pass as you wait to go into the population to wait even longer for them to process you into the Florida county jail. You’ve been in hours already, but they don’t process you until you get to the floor.
No hopes of a phone call, so you have no idea if anyone knows where you are right now.
Sounds sad and scary? Well, this is how you feel when you are in your 30s and get arrested for the first time… and it’s even worse that it’s for a DUI!
No one cares who you are, what happened or how you feel. You are reduced to a Florida booking number and spoken to like a child. Don’t talk, don’t ask questions and definitely… do not cry.
Getting a DUI in Florida: What to Expect During Sentencing
In the State of Florida, your DUI conviction will stay on your record for a whopping 75 years!!! The Traffic Safety Fact from the National Highway and Safety Administration tells us that 1-out-of-135 people in the US will get arrested for DUIs every single year.
Those are astounding statistics. Yet, people still get DUIs each and every day. This leads to some serious consequences, including losing your state driver’s license.
Penalties for First Time DUI Offenders in Florida
Here in Florida where DUI is a serious crime, first-time offenders can expect to be sentenced to:
- Fines – First time DUI offenders in Florida are subject to fines between $500-$2,000. However, if there’s a minor in the vehicle or your blood alcohol level is .15 or above, the fine is between $2,000-$4,000.
- Community Service – For your first DUI offense in Florida, you must serve 50 hours of mandatory community service. You may be able to buy your way out of it by paying an extra fine of $10 per required community service hour.
- Imprisonment – Sentences vary depending on the case. First time convictions are sentenced to up to 6 months in drug abuse or alcoholism treatment programs. However, if there’s a minor in the vehicle or your blood alcohol level is .15 or above, you can be sentenced to up to 9 months.
- Probation – First time Florida DUI convictions are subject to up to 1-year probation.
- Driver’s License Cancellation – For your first driving under the influence offense, you will lose your Florida Driver’s License for anywhere between 180 days to 1 year.
Technically, you’re lucky you didn’t kill yourself or someone else while driving drunk or high. That could leads to convictions like vehicular manslaughter, a charge that carries prison time.
Reinstating Your Florida Driver’s License After a DUI Conviction
Getting arrested for a DUI is very serious stuff. Yes, you should be reprimanded, but it’s still scary. Seeing yourself on the other side of the law and put in jail with people who have committed more heinous crimes is not only humiliating, it’s detrimental to your driving privileges.
If this is your first conviction for a DUI in the State of Florida, you can get your license reinstated. You must apply for a hardship license to get it reinstated before our 180-day to 1-year license suspension revocation period is over. This is done at the Administrative Reviews Office within your local county.
As a first-time DUI offender, you can reinstate your Florida Driver’s License while waiting for your revocation period to end. This requires showing proof that you have completed a Florida DUI school program.
You can also be currently enrolled in a state-approved school for DUI offenders. But, if you don’t complete and pass the DUI course within 90 days of the license reinstatement, it will be canceled until you complete the DUI school.
Florida DUI School
The DUI Institute is a Florida-based non-profit organization that strives to educate the local community through counseling and various resources. Combining DUI intervention and prevention efforts helps us do our part to reduce disasters caused by people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, such as:
Our team is working hard to launch our upcoming online DUI course for Florida offenders. Be sure not to miss any updates about our Florida DUI school launch, as well as new blog posts published here on DUIInstitute.org.
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Tiffany M Arnold is a creative spirit who believes writing is her form of art to foster conversations that positively impact the world. She loves to express herself through stories that make readers think beyond the pages, beyond the book and within themselves. A native of DMV, Tiffany is an avid reader and activist. She reports news for Prison Rideshare Network.