In Florida, a DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the facts of the case. If this was your first DUI offense and there weren’t any aggravating factors present, then odds are you won’t be charged with a felony DUI.
On the other hand, if this is your third DUI offense within 10 years, or if this is your fourth or subsequent DUI offense, or if someone else was seriously injured as a result of your driving under the influence, then there is a strong possibility that you will be facing felony DUI charges.
Misdemeanor DUI vs. Felony DUI in Florida
The majority of DUI cases are misdemeanors, however, when an impaired driver causes property damage or personal injuries, they face harsher penalties.
Under Sec. 316.193 (3) of the Florida Statutes, if a person causes property damage or if they injure another person while driving under the influence, they are guilty of a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine or up to one year in jail.
DUI felonies are generally reserved for repeat offenders or accidents that involve serious property damage or serious injuries. Under Sec. 316.193(2), (3) of the Florida Statutes, anyone who is convicted of a third DUI within 10 years or a fourth or subsequent DUI is guilty of a third degree felony.
Additionally, anyone who causes serious bodily injuries while driving under the influence is guilty of a third degree felony, punishable by a maximum term of 5 years in prison and up to a $5, 000 fine.
What is DUI manslaughter?
If an impaired driver kills another person as a result of the drunk driving, they can be charged with DUI/Manslaughter, which is a second degree felony punishably by a maximum $10,000 fine and/or 15 years in prison.
Other felony charges include: DUI manslaughter/leaving the scene, vehicular homicide, and vehicular homicide/leaving the scene. These charges are prosecuted as first and second degree felonies in Florida.
Searching for a Miami DUI attorney?
If you are facing felony DUI charges in Miami, then you need an experienced DUI defense lawyer now more than ever. I urge you to contact my firm, Jonathan Blecher, P.A. to schedule a free case evaluation!