The Caldarone Law Group, P.A.

Why you can't afford to underestimate DUI charges here in Florida

It's a given that when the clock strikes anywhere between 4 and 6 p.m. on Friday afternoons, workers across the state of Florida are making a beeline for the nearest restaurant or tavern for happy hour. Indeed, the opportunity to eat and drink at reduced prices while catching up, venting about a tough day at the office or just sharing some gossip is perhaps too good to pass up.

While there's certainly nothing wrong with spending some quality time with co-workers, those who do head out to happy hour will nevertheless want to think twice before consuming that final cocktail, glass of wine or cold beer, as law enforcement officials will be out on the roads and highways looking for impaired drivers.

Lest a person needs any convincing, consider that the law here in the Sunshine State outlines some serious penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence -- even those individuals who experience a one-time lapse in judgment.

Specifically, state law dictates the following punishment for drivers whose blood alcohol level is found to be .08 or higher at the time of arrest, and are subsequently convicted of a first-time DUI offense:

  • A fine of anywhere from $500 to $1,000 ($1,000 to $2,000 if their BAL was .15 or higher)
  • Up to six months in jail (up to nine months in jail if their BAL was .15 or higher)
  • Mandatory 50 hours of community service
  • A license suspension of anywhere from 180 days to one year

There are, of course, other collateral consequences that can accompany a first-time DUI offense, including increases in insurance premiums, damage to professional relationships and even the potential loss of employment.

The purpose in sharing this information is not to cause any unnecessary fear, but rather to demonstrate what exactly is at stake in the event of a DUI arrest, and impress upon people the importance of considering speaking with a skilled legal professional -- who can get to work trying to have the charges dropped or reduced -- as soon as possible.   

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