What Factors Cause Enhanced Penalties in a Florida DUI Case?

When you face charges for driving under the influence, courts consider several factors. In some cases, these factors can lead to enhanced penalties. DUI cases require special attention from a qualified criminal lawyer in Florida. Learn what factors can impact the penalties in DUI cases and what potential penalties the court may order.

Four Factors That Lead To Enhanced Penalties in a DUI Case

When a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence, they use field sobriety tests to assess your level of intoxication. If they find you’re intoxicated, they have probable cause for arrest.

If you are facing a DUI charge, contact a criminal lawyer in Florida to learn about your options for your case. A typical DUI charge can be escalated to an enhanced DUI charge if the following factors apply.

1. Death of Another Driver 

If the other driver dies due to your reckless driving, a standard DUI charge becomes a DUI manslaughter charge. This comes with significant prison time, as it is a felony DUI. 

2. Serious Injury of Another Driver 

If your reckless driving under the influence leads to a car accident that causes a serious injury to the other driver, you can face enhanced penalties. Serious car accident injuries may include: 

  • Deep scarring
  • Lost limb
  • Loss of bodily function

You may not know the extent of the other driver’s injuries immediately, but keep this in mind as your case moves forward. 

3. Extreme Blood-Alcohol Level

Police can arrest you for a DUI when your blood-alcohol level reaches 0.08% or more. In Florida, a BAC above 0.15% BAC carries enhanced DUI penalties. 

4. Involvement of a Minor

If you drove under the influence while you had a minor in the car, you may face enhanced penalties, according to Florida Statute 316.193. This remains true even if there was no accident as a result of your actions, and the minor didn’t suffer harm. 

5. Multiple Prior DUIs

Prior convictions for driving under the influence can impact the penalties you face if you’re arrested again. If you were previously convicted of a DUI within five years of your most recent arrest, you’ll probably face a mandatory jail sentence. Having four or more DUIs over ten years is a third-degree felony. 

Enhanced Penalties for DUI Charges

The factors above can lead to enhanced penalties, but what exactly are enhanced DUI charges? If any of the above factors apply to your case, you can face: 

  • Up to nine months of jail time, whereas a standard DUI has a maximum of six months
  • Up to one year of jail time for a second conviction, compared to nine months for a standard DUI second conviction
  • Up to $2,000 in fines, whereas a standard DUI fine is $500.00
  • Permanent revocation of your driver’s license, whereas a standard DUI typically revokes it for 180 days 
  • 90-day impoundment of your vehicle, whereas a standard DUI requires a 10-day impound
  • Higher damages to compensate victims for property damage, injuries, or loss

A Skilled Criminal Attorney Can Help You Prepare for Enhanced DUI Penalties

If you’re facing a DUI charge, contact a criminal lawyer in Florida to help you through this process. Michael White, P.A., is a criminal defense attorney serving South Florida and can help you navigate this difficult time. 

As your criminal attorney, Michael White will use DUI defense strategies to help you negotiate with relevant parties, represent you in a trial, and search for inconsistencies in the evidence. 

Call 954-270-0769 today to start with a free consultation.

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After several years as a prosecutor and General Counsel for the Broward County Police Benevolence Association (PBA), Michael White started his own practice focused on protecting individuals accused of crimes.

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