Under Florida law, a first-time misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI) conviction is punishable by up to 9 months in jail. In light of that information, does it mean that all DUI defendants are incarcerated upon a conviction? It depends on the facts of the case.
When it comes to a first DUI offense, sentencing the DUI defendant to jail is “at the court’s discretion.” Sometimes, a defendant can serve his or her sentence in a drug abuse or residential alcoholism drug abuse treatment program. In these situations, the time served in the program is credited towards the individual’s term of imprisonment.
Under Florida law, the sentencing for a first DUI offense is as follows:
- Up to 6 months if the blood alcohol level (BAL) was less than 0.15%.
- Up to 9 months if the BAL was 0.15% or above.
For each subsequent offense, the sentencing and penalties typically increase. For example, a second DUI is punishable by up to 12 months; a third DUI conviction (within 10 years) is also punishable by up to 12 months. However, a fourth DUI conviction is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Note: When a person is convicted of their first DUI offense, he or she must complete a mandatory 50 hours of community service, or they must pay a $10 fine for each hour of community service the court requires. Also, for a first DUI conviction, the total period of incarceration and probation cannot last longer than one year.
Can You Afford to Go to Jail?
If you are facing DUI charges in Miami for the first time, can you afford to go to jail for up to 6 or 9 months? If you were incarcerated, what would happen to your job, and your loved ones? Would your job still be there when you are released from jail? If you have a family to support, would they be okay if you had to go to jail?
In the face of jail sentencing for DUI, it’s critical that you consider your options, including the Back on Track Program for first-offenders. To learn more about staying out of jail, contact my Miami DUI defense firm for a free case evaluation!