Are you facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Miami for the first time? If so, you may be wondering, “Is DUI a misdemeanor or a felony in Florida?” Generally, driving under the influence under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes is a misdemeanor offense; however, there are circumstances when a DUI, even a first offense, is a felony under Florida law.
Under most circumstances, a first or second Florida DUI is a misdemeanor. However, Section 316.193(b)1 it states, “Any person who is convicted of a third [DUI] violation of this section for an offense that occurs within 10 years of a prior conviction for a violation of this section commits a felony of the third degree.” As a felony of the third degree, a third DUI within 10 years is punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
A third DUI is not the only way to be charged with felony DUI. A DUI can be prosecuted as a felony under the following circumstances:
- The impaired driver caused serious bodily injury while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both.
- The impaired driver killed another person while driving under the influence. This offense is prosecuted as DUI manslaughter and is a second-degree felony, punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 or up to 15 years in prison or a fine and imprisonment.
- The impaired driver killed someone else and they fled the scene of the accident. This is called DUI manslaughter/leaving the scene and is a first-degree felony, punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 or 30 years in prison, or a fine and imprisonment.
- The driver is convicted of their fourth subsequent DUI offense.
Will You Face Felony DUI Charges?
If this is your third DUI within 10 years, or if you seriously injured or killed someone else while driving under the influence, you are likely facing felony DUI charges. On the other hand, if this is your first or second DUI and no one was injured or killed, you should be facing misdemeanor charges under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes.
If this is your first DUI and it’s a misdemeanor, you may be eligible for the Back on Track Program. If you qualify, successful completion of this program could allow you to avoid the stigma of a DUI conviction. To learn more, contact me at (305) 677-0563 today!