Florida DUI Laws
In the state of Florida, as in any other state, driving while under the influence of alcohol is considered a serious offense. For drivers with an otherwise good driving history, recovery from a DUI (Driving while under the influence) will require penalties, fines and higher car insurance rates but a license suspension may be avoided or abbreviated. However, with repeat offenses, penalties, fines, jail time and license suspensions become much more severe. It is never a good idea to drink and drive.
Basic DUI Laws For The State Of Florida
In Florida, when a driver is arrested for a DUI this creates two separate legal cases. First, there will be a state court case, and second will be a case with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). Drivers over 21 can be convicted with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher, and if a driver has a positive breath, urine or blood test, or refuses the test, the state of Florida will automatically assign a penalty of six months to 18 months of suspension of driving privileges. A person has a 10-day period to request a special administrative hearing from the DHSMV to save their license, but if they fail to do this, the suspension will automatically be in force.
Penalties Associated With Driving Under The Influence In Florida
A recipient of a DUI in Florida may be subject to various serious penalties and consequences consisting of fines, jail, and license suspensions among other things. A first-time offender can expect 15 mandatory community service hours, six months of prison or less, and up to one year of probation. Fines are assessed at a minimum of $500 on the first conviction, and a minimum of $2,000 on subsequent convictions. If a minor is convicted, the minimum fine will be $4,000. Two different entities, the court and FDHSMV, can impose license suspensions. For first offenders, the driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days, or up to a full year. If there was any serious injury involved in the DUI, there will be a minimum of a three-year license revocation.
Florida will allow drivers to apply for a “hardship license”, but proof of DUI school completion or enrollment proof of any mandated treatment is required. If an individual takes longer than 90 days to complete their course or treatment, their license will be canceled until the requirements are completed. If the requirements are not completed, an individual’s license will be canceled indefinitely. Fines range from a minimum of $250 on a first conviction, to $5,000 on a third conviction within 10 years. Jail time can be from 10 days to 90 days on a third conviction and license revocation can be from a minimum of 180 days on a first DUI conviction to a three-year minimum if manslaughter or serious bodily injury is involved.
SR-22 Requirements In The State Of Florida
Being convicted of a DUI in Florida carries additional responsibilities besides the SR-22 form. Florida also requires a Florida Uniform Financial Responsibility Certificate, FR-44, to be carried for a period of three years, unless the time period is determined differently by a judge. As of February 2008, the SR-22 form is no longer required for drivers convicted of a DUI, however, the FR-44 form is still required. Higher minimum limits of insurance will be necessary, and an FR-44 form is essentially the same as an SR-22.
Effects Of A DUI On The Cost Of Car Insurance
Auto insurance costs will dramatically increase for drivers who are convicted of a DUI in the state of Florida, as insurers will see them as a greater risk. The FR-44 certificate will require them to carry insurance with coverage levels that are 10 times higher than the standard limits. The driver will be required to carry a higher bodily injury liability level of insurance, with a higher level of property damage liability insurance as well. They will also be subject to ignition interlock device requirements. Anyone convicted of a DUI after July 1, 2002, will have to use the ignition interlock device and their driver license will be marked with a “P” restriction, which shows that the interlock device is mandated. The interlock device prevents a vehicle from starting when the driver’s breath sample is above a .05 percent blood alcohol content. The installation of the interlock device is not required on a first conviction unless ordered by the court, however it is required on all subsequent convictions.
If the insured does not pay their policy at any point during the in-force period of the FR-44 certificate, their license will be suspended. If drivers have more than one DUI conviction, they may find it extremely difficult to get car insurance through a private insurer. In this case, the Florida Auto Joint Underwriting Association is a last resort place to look for high risk car insurance coverage. However, this is typically not the lowest cost alternative.
Working with a good DUI attorney can help eliminate or reduce any consequences of a DUI conviction, and this will have a positive effect upon a person’s insurance policy rates. Every state is different, but most states keep a record of DUI convictions on an individual’s driving record for 10 years. Once the 10 years is up, however, the conviction blemish will be gone, or at least an insurance company will never know about it. Some insurers may consider a DUI as a smaller risk if a person has an otherwise good driving history. There are several insurance brokers that can assist individuals with finding insurance when they have a DUI conviction. Finding affordable auto insurance can be extremely tough after a conviction, however, certain insurers in Florida, such as The General Auto Insurance Company have special experience in this area and can be of great assistance. Other companies that can provide quotes for high-risk policies are Progressive Insurance and AIS insurance.