Important Facts about DUI in Florida
Have you been arrested for DUI?
- If you have been arrested for DUI in Florida you only have ten days to appeal the administrative suspension of your driver's license
- A Florida DUI conviction will result in a permanent criminal record
- A Florida DUI conviction will result in costly fines, lengthy probation, substance abuse classes and a driver's license revocation
- A Florida DUI conviction may result in higher automobile insurance premiums
- You need to consult with an experienced Florida DUI lawyer about your legal rights and options
Florida Third DUI Offense is a Felony
Recent changes to Florida's DUI laws have increased the penalties for multiple DUI convictions. In Florida, a third DUI offense within ten years DUI is a third degree felony. Prior to July of 2002 a third DUI within 10 years was a misdemeanor offense. Some jurisdictions will prosecute these cases as misdemeanors.
Ignition Interlock Devices
An Ignition Interlock Device is a device placed inside a vehicle which requires the driver to breathe into a measuring device before the car will start. If any alcohol is detected on the driver's breath the vehicle will not start. Any person convicted of a second or third DUI offense that intends to obtain a permanent or restricted driver license, will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle at their own expense.
The number of DUI convictions determines how long the interlock device must remain in the car. Previous to the new law, Ignition Interlock Devices were only installed in vehicles pursuant to court order. Drivers will now be required to submit proof of the interlock installation to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles before they will be issued a license.
Breath Refusal Law Changes
A second refusal to submit to a breath and/or urine test can be charged as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail. The license suspension will remain at 18 months.
How A DUI Conviction May Affect Insurance
If you have ever had a DUI conviction, you must certainly know that the consequences can be both humiliating and expensive. Aside from the fines, attorney fees, and license suspension, there are the more long-term consequences, such as the impact on your car insurance rates and coverage. If you are convicted of DUI, more often than not, your insurance company will find out and will deal with you in one of two ways. Typically, your rates will go up, sometimes substantially, or the company will simply cancel your policy. If your insurance company raises your premiums but keeps you as an insured, you will likely be labeled a "high-risk driver." Most states require the insurance company to provide DHSMV with an FR-44 Proof of Insurance Certificate, which removes your license suspension by providing the state with proof that you are insured.
The catch is that not all insurance companies offer FR-44 policies. So your policy may be non-renewed or cancelled simply because the company can no longer provide insurance for you. In some states, insurers can't cut you off in the middle of the policy term, so be sure to check on the laws where you live. Another less-likely scenario is that your insurance company doesn't find out about your DUI because, for whatever reason, it slips through the cracks. Occasionally, your insurer will not raise your rates or cancel you if you've been a long time insured with no other blemishes on your record. But this is also pretty unlikely.
What to Do if Charged with a DUI for the First Time
In many cases, a person's first run-in with the law involves a DUI. If you are facing your 1st DUI arrest in Miami, know that there are options available. Rather than losing hope, turn to Jonathan Blecher, an experienced Miami 1st DUI lawyer for the legal help you need. I specialize in DUI law, so you can trust that my firm will provide you with the quality defense and the answers you need!