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DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws vary between states and even counties, so it is important that you discuss your individual case with a lawyer experienced in Florida DUI laws.

Many drivers still think that DUI means a casual slap on the wrist for first-time offenders,

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but this is not true at all. In Florida, consequences of a DUI conviction can include:

- jail time, even for a first conviction
- suspension or revocation of the driver’s license
- expensive fines, court costs, and impoundment fees
- probation
- community service
- attachment of an ignition interlock device.

In Florida, any driver with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08 percent is considered ‘per se intoxicated.’ Under this statute, a driver can be convicted of DUI based on the illegal BAC alone. There is a more severe punishment for those convicted of DUI with a blood-alcohol content of 0.20 percent or more above the legal limit at the time of arrest.

Any person under the age of 21 operating a vehicle with a 0.02 percent blood-alcohol level or above is subject to DUI penalties.

While technically you can politely refuse to breath, blood, or urine testing for blood-alcohol content, this refusal falls under ‘implied consent laws.’ These minimum mandatory penalties can be imposed on drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration above Florida’s maximum allowable level of 0.08 percent or drivers refusing to submit to breath, blood, or urine testing for blood-alcohol content. Penalties can include temporary or permanent removal of the driver’s license by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). In Florida, for the first DUI offense the mandatory suspension is six months; for the second offense, one year; for the third offense, two years.

Temporary or permanent vehicle confiscation for a DUI conviction is a possibility in Florida. This can involve significant expense for the offender in the form of fines and administrative fees.

Drivers can be subjected to installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. This equipment requires the driver to perform a clean breath-test before the vehicle will start. The driver is responsible for the cost of installation and maintenance.

Attendance at ‘driving school’ or an alcohol education and prevention program, assessment for possible alcohol or drug dependency, or treatment for alcohol abuse can be required for DUI offenders in Florida.

Whether you plead "not guilty, " "guilty," or "nolo contendere," find out how a Florida attorney can help you deal with your DUI charges.

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