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When Are DUI Charges Enhanced?

DUI convictions in the state of Florida carry serious legal and financial penalties. It’s no secret that if you’re caught driving under the influence, the consequences can be significant. Even if it’s your first DUI with no prior criminal record, driving while under the influence is a serious legal matter that puts others’ lives at risk.

If you’re a first-time DUI offender in Florida, you can expect the following base penalties:

  • Court fines of up to $1,000
  • A maximum jail term of 6 months
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to one year
  • Interlock device installed in your vehicle
  • DUI on your criminal record

What many drivers don’t know is that certain DUI situations call for enhanced penalties. These enhancements can be applied even if you’re a first-time offender.

Every DUI arrest is unique and has its own set of facts. If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Florida, it’s important to know the circumstances that could call for enhanced penalties. An experienced team of criminal lawyers in Daytona Beach, FL, will be your best resource when tackling a DUI charge.

BAC Beyond Standard DUI

Every state in the United States sets the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold for DUI charges. To be charged with a DUI in Florida, you must have a BAC of 0.08 or greater.

Going beyond a certain BAC level in Florida puts you at risk of greater penalties.

If you exceed a 0.15 BAC at the time of your arrest, you will face enhanced DUI penalties. These enhancements will call for the following:

  • Court fines of up to $2,000
  • A maximum jail term of 9 months

For DUIs beyond your first, these numbers only keep increasing and could land you with bigger fines and increased legal repercussions, such as mandatory jail time. With additional DUIs, you also risk losing your driving privileges altogether.

Children in the Vehicle

To protect children in the state of Florida, the law calls for enhanced consequences if there was a minor in your car at the time of a DUI arrest.

Per Florida Statute 316.193(4), driving under the influence with a passenger under the age of 18 will result in added financial and jail time penalties.

Injuries and Damage

If your DUI results in any injuries or property damage, you also face added penalties that will correspond with your unique circumstances.

When a DUI results in “serious bodily injury” in Florida, your charge goes from being a misdemeanor to a felony, and you risk jail time of up to five years in state prison.

DUI cases that result in injury can be highly complex legal matters. A seasoned Palm Coast DUI lawyer will need to look at all of the evidence to proceed with the best course of action.

Consult a Palm Coast DUI Lawyer for Enhanced Charges

The best way to avoid DUI enhancements is to never drive while intoxicated. Drunk driving is dangerous and puts you and others at risk of serious injury.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Florida, consult with a criminal defense attorney right away.

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