Can you really be so unlucky twice in your life as to get a second DUI in Miami or Broward?
Your first DUI can happen anytime. You may be impaired, you may not be. Maybe you had a beer with dinner and when the cop pulled you over for speeding, he smelled the alcohol on your breath.
But that awful experience is behind you. However, Florida lawmakers are well aware of the statistic that says only about 11% of all first-time DUI offenders suffer from alcoholism. They understand that a first DUI is oftentimes a mistake, a lapse in judgment. While Florida's first DUI penalties are arguably some of the toughest nationwide, you will notice that there is no mandatory jail requirement for a first DUI. In a sense, that's Florida's way of "taking it easy" on first-time offenders.
Statistics show that for a second DUI, roughly 88% of those offenders suffer from alcoholism. With this in mind, Florida lawmakers crafted second DUI penalties so that offenders receive treatment, but at the same time, a more severe punishment than the first time.
For a second DUI, Florida courts care whether that DUI occurred within 5 years of your last DUI, or outside of 5 years of your last DUI. You may commonly hear this referred to as a "2nd within 5" or a "2nd outside of 5."
For a second DUI within 5 years of your last DUI, you are facing a maximum of 9 months in jail. If you blow a .15 or higher or have minors in the car, this is an enhanced DUI and you can face up to 364 days in jail.
For a second DUI within 5 years, you face the following mandatory minimum penalties:
* 10 days of mandatory jail time
* 30-day vehicle immobilization (impoundment)
* 5-year driver's license revocation
* Completion of DUI school
* Fine of $1000 -$2000 ($2000 - $4000 if BAC at .15 or higher or minor in car)
* 50 community service hours
* Installation of an ignition interlock device
Second DUI offenders will normally be placed on 12 months of probation. Statutory court costs will apply.
If the second DUI is outside of five years since your last DUI, there is no mandatory jail time, although this does not prohibit the prosecutor from seeking jail.
No second DUI offender is eligible for any of the DUI diversion programs offered in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. Miami's "Back On Track" program is only for first-time DUI offenders who meet strict criteria.
On the administrative suspension side, the DHSMV (Department of Highway Safety And Motor Vehicles) will suspend or revoke your driver's license for five years for a second DUI within five years. You cannot even apply for a hardship license until you have served a full year of that suspension ("hard time").
For a second DUI outside of five years, you can expect a one-year driver's license suspension.
A summary of the Florida's Drivers License Manual can be found online and is an excellent resource for learning how to obtain a hardship license or business purposes license.
If your driver's license has previously been suspended for refusing to submit to a breath test, you can be charged with the crime of second or subsequent refusal in addition to the second DUI charge. This is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail.
Your second DUI charge is serious and can have consequences that can effect you for many years after your arrest. Don't plead guilty or accept the harsh mandatory penalties without first consulting a DUI attorney in the county in which the offense occurred.
Defense attorney Eric Matheny practices DUI law in Miami and Broward.