You've just been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and you have already been convicted of DUI in the past. The Florida DUI laws can be somewhat confusing. They are found in Section 322.193, Fla. Stat. Every case is different, but below I outline some of the important things to know.
PENALTIES FOR A 2ND DUI IN FLORIDA
Is jail time mandatory?
If your first DUI conviction was more than 5 years ago, the possible penalties are somewhat lighter for your second DUI. The date of conviction, not the date of your arrest, is important when calculating the 5 years.
If it has been more than 5 years since your last DUI conviction, there is no mandatory jail time. However, if your first DUI conviction was less than 5 years ago, Florida law requires a 10-day jail sentence upon conviction of a second DUI.
The court may allow any jail sentence imposed to be served at a residential drug or alcohol treatment facility instead of at the jail.
What is the maximum jail sentence?
The maximum jail penalty is more for a second DUI than for a first DUI. It depends on whether you gave a breath-alcohol sample after your second DUI arrest and what the results were:
I have never seen a client receive the maximum jail sentence for a DUI in Palm Beach County, but it is certainly possible.
Florida law requires anyone convicted of DUI to be placed on monthly reporting probation. While on probation, completion of DUI school is required. This is a substance abuse course licensed by the state, which includes an evaluation to determine whether treatment is needed, such as counseling or inpatient rehabilitation. For a second DUI, a different level of DUI school must be completed, which is usually more expensive than for first-time DUI offenders.
DUI school is required to obtain any type of driver license after a DUI arrest, including a hardship (business-purposes only) license.
Ignition Interlock Device
Installation of an ignition interlock device is mandatory for all second DUI convictions. This means that in order to get your driver license back in any capacity, you must install the device on your vehicle and have the DHSMV inspect it.
The length of time the device must be on your vehicle depends on your breath-alcohol reading. If it was under .15, you must have the device installed for at least one continuous year after you get your driver license back. If your reading was over .15, the device must be installed for at least two continuous years after you get your driver license back.
These are minimum periods of time. It is possible for the court to order you to have the ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for more than the minimum period. In my experience, this period is often the subject of negotiation because prosecutors seek more than the minimum period of installation.
There is mandatory $1,000 to $2,000 fine for a second DUI. However, if your breath results are over .15, the fine increases: a minimum $2,000 to a maximum $4,000.
If you refused to take the breath-alcohol test when lawfully asked to by police, your license will be suspended automatically. This occurs right away and does not require a conviction.
The length of that automatic suspension depends on whether this is your first time refusing the breath test or not.
For instance, if you provided a breath sample in your first DUI case, but this time you refused the test, then you will get the 6-month license suspension. However, if you refused the test at the time of both your DUI arrests, you are subject to the 18-month license suspension.
If you are eventually convicted of your second DUI, your license must be suspended the day you are convicted (Section 322.28, Fla. Stat.). The length of the license suspension depends on how long ago your first DUI conviction was:
HARDSHIP LICENSE RULES AFTER 2ND DUI
First-time DUI offenders can get an immediate hardship driver license by waiving their right to an administrative review hearing about the license suspension that occurred after their DUI arrest. However, with a prior DUI conviction, you do not have that option. Thus, there is a waiting period to apply for a hardship license. That period depends on your individual circumstances. The law is very confusing on this point so I provide some charts below as guidance. However, you should consult with a lawyer to determine your eligibility.
You may be eligible for a hardship license (for business-only purposes) after your second DUI arrest:
However, your eligibility may change if you are convicted (plead guilty or are found guilty) of your second DUI. This is because having two or more DUI convictions changes your eligibility for a hardship license. After your arrest but prior to conviction, this rule seems to somewhat provide a presumption of innocence as to your new charge. But once convicted, you will have two prior DUIs and the eligibility rules change: you will not be able to drive to work directly after your conviction because there is a waiting period to get your business-purpose only license.
Everyone arrested for a DUI gets a driver license suspension, but a hardship license can get you through until you have your full license back. That way, you can at least drive to work, get groceries, and do other driving necessary for living.
If you find these rules confusing, it's because they are. They can change at any time, so be sure to ask a DUI lawyer so you know what to expect at every stage of your case.