First-Time DUI Penalties in Florida

Last updated on December 25th, 2022 at 10:21 pm

The list of consequences for first-time DUI penalties in Florida includes mandatory fines, potential jail time, court-ordered community service, treatment programs, and suspended licenses.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with DUI penalties, DUI Lawyer Parikh suggests contacting a veteran defense lawyer. Starting proactive conversations to educate yourself on these matters can never hurt.

Financial Penalties

Florida’s first-time DUI penalties come with harsh financial mandates. For those unlucky people convicted of a DUI in Florida, there are many ways that they’ll pay for their transgressions.


In Florida, the range of fines for a DUI first offense can range from $500 to $5000. Judges sometimes suspend these fines as a show of mercy, but it’s rare. Fines from  $500 to $1000 apply to those with .15% BAC who are over 18 years old. For those under 18, it’s $1000 to $2000. In situations where the DUI caused someone serious injury, the fine can reach $5000.

Insurance Costs

It’s not only fines that convicted first-time offenders have to worry about. It’s also skyrocketing costs to insure their vehicle. After a DUI conviction, insurance costs tend to rise sharply. Insurers understandably view drunk drivers as serious liabilities. As a result, drivers seeking to return to the road may only do so with $350,000 coverage and up.

Each drunk driving occurrence can require $300,000 worth of underwriting. The remaining $50,000 covers things like property damage and other fees. Additionally, some policies require personal injury coverage at $100,000 per person to be included. These insurance costs are necessary for drivers to be allowed to return to the road legally.

Impounded Vehicles

First-offense DUI penalties require a minimum of 10 days of vehicular impoundment. Per-day impound fees will vary. Some counties have their own impound lots,while others contract an impound lot to do the work for them. There are also service fees for towing.

Criminal Penalties

Florida’s first-time DUI penalties could include jail or prison time. The state uses DUI courts to combat recidivism at all costs. Penalties hinge on the details of the case. Some considerations that affect the severity of the criminal penalty include the following:

  • Was anyone seriously injured?
  • Was there an accident?
  • Was any property destroyed?
  • Were officers placed in harm’s way?
  • What was the conduct of the arrested party?
  • Is there a prior criminal history?

Jail Time

In Florida, a first-time DUI can get you up to six months in jail. The exceptions are when the driver’s BAC was higher than .15%, or if a minor was in the vehicle. In these cases, first-time DUIs can get you up to nine months in jail. The pattern is usually that the messier the details of the DUI were, the higher the chances of getting the most jail time.


Not everyone convicted of a DUI first offense is put behind bars. There are many cases where the judge gives probation as a penalty. The probationary period rarely exceeds one year and must be paid for by the convicted party. The charges can be up to $50 per month, plus associated processing fees.

Community Service

First-offense DUIs in Florida can come with a required 50 hours of community service requirement. Failure to complete the 50 hours can result in jail time. The offender also pays fees to be a community servant during that time.


A judge can order offenders to participate in treatment programs. Offenders cover the bill for treatment. Failure to complete treatment as mandated by the court can result in jail time.

Administrative Penalties

The State of Florida enacts many administrative penalties for first-time DUI offenders. Restricted licenses, mandatory training, reeducation efforts, and more can all be part of this process.

Restricted License

First-offense DUIs can result in suspended licenses. Court-ordered suspensions range from six months to one year. Drivers also must complete DUI courses before their license can be reinstated. The defendant’s lawyers must file for a Formal Administrative Hearing, within ten days of their arrest. The hearing is a necessary step in the reinstatement process.

Implied Consent

Under the Florida state statute 316.1932, drivers consent to take breathalyzers and blood alcohol tests upon receipt of their license. Refusal to comply with a DUI test results in an automatic suspension of their license for a period not to exceed one year.

DUI School

To get their license back after a first-time DUI, offenders must attend and pass DUI educational classes. This is part of a state-required minimum of 12 hours of drug and alcohol training for offenders. The cost of classes is $275. After passing the courses, the driver must then be evaluated by the state. Each evaluation costs $150.

Hardship License

In cases where offenders are unable to complete court-ordered tasks because they are not allowed to drive, a hardship license may be granted. A hardship license is a restricted license allowing the driver to travel to work and back home. Other allowed driving would be for purposes of school, medicine, and religious reasons.


When it comes to first-time DUI offenses in Florida, there’s no shortage of reasons to consult with a legal professional who can help you understand the penalties you might face. Florida has many pitfalls waiting for those who are convicted of a DUI.

Retaining the services of an experienced and savvy criminal defense attorney is a great investment. Treatment options are available if you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol-related substance abuse in Florida.

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