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Is a DUI a felony or a misdemeanor?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2021 | Drunk Driving

There are a range of possible penalties for a Florida DUI offense depending on the circumstances and whether you have a prior criminal history. A DUI may be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on these factors.

Is a first-time DUI a felony or misdemeanor in Florida?

Usually, a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor in Florida. The possible jail time ranges from eight hours to up to six months. If the driver’s blood alcohol content is 0.15 or higher, the most jail time possible is up to nine months. When an offense involves manslaughter, even a first DUI can be a felony with a mandatory prison sentence under Florida law 316.193.

Is a second-time DUI a felony or a misdemeanor in Florida?

A second-time DUI is a misdemeanor in Florida. The maximum possible penalty is up to nine months in jail. If the driver has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher, the maximum penalty is one year. The maximum also increases to one year if the intoxicated driver causes an accident or crash. If the second conviction is less than five years from a prior conviction, the court must sentence the offender to at least 10 days in jail. Probation is also a possibility.

Maximum penalties for a DUI

The maximum penalties that a person faces for a DUI offense depend on what offense the person is ultimately convicted of committing. For example, even if a person is charged with DUI with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher, they may contest the charges. If they’re found guilty of DUI of less than 0.15, they face lower penalties. The same is true when a person accepts a plea offer. Consulting an attorney prior to accepting any plea deal is recommended because a criminal defense attorney may be able to get charges further reduced or even dismissed.