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Is a DUI Charge in Florida Considered a Felony?

Orlando Defense Sept. 28, 2021

Florida Statutes section 316.193 is the Florida DUI statute. 

In Florida, you can be charged with a felony DUI under two circumstances: (i) if you committed two prior DUI offenses and less than 10 years have passed between your second and third DUI, or (ii) if you hurt or killed someone during a DUI accident.

Please remember that Florida can add charges in addition to the DUI in cases of death or injury. 

If you have further questions after this article about DUI charges in Florida, please contact Orlando Defense for more information today.

What Is DUI?

DUI is driving under the influence of intoxicants. If you were drinking alcohol, Florida can charge you with DUI if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was 0.08 percent or higher.

Florida can also charge you with DUI, even for BAC levels lower than 0.08 percent, for any of the following reasons:

  • You are under 21. A BAC of 0.02 percent is enough to charge you with DUI.

  • You were under the influence of another intoxicant as well: prescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine, etc.  (Please note, you can be charged with DUI for prescription drugs whether you have a legal prescription.)

  • You are a commercial driver, including a school bus driver. For you, the legal limit is 0.04 percent.

The problem with driving when drugs are in your bloodstream is that Florida has not established clear standards of intoxication for many drugs.

As a result of this lack of standards, a Florida prosecutor might charge you with DUI even when there is only enough of a drug in your bloodstream to prove that you used it at some point within the last 30 days. 

Florida’s “Lookback Period”

The lookback period represents how long Florida will look back into your past to determine how many DUIs you have on your record. Florida’s lookback period for a third DUI is 10 years.

That means if your second, third, fourth, or most recent DUI was more than 10 years ago, it will not be held against you in determining whether to charge you with a felony.

Keep in mind, however, that the lookback period for a second offense is only five years, and while a second offense is still considered only a misdemeanor, it still carries significantly enhanced penalties.

Refusing A Breathalyzer Test

Refusing to take a breathalyzer test will not necessarily save you from a felony DUI charge. The reason for this is that the prosecution can use your refusal as evidence against you at your DUI trial.

They can assert that the reason why you refused is that you knew you were intoxicated. 

Penalties For Felony DUI In Florida

In Florida, the minimum penalties for a third-offense (felony) DUI include:

  • 30 days to five years in prison; 

  • A fine of $2,000 to $5,000;

  • 10 or more years revocation of your driver’s license plus two years of Ignition Interlock Device (IID); and

  • 90 days vehicle impoundment.

Keep in mind that penalties increase for the fourth offense and further DUIs. These penalties can also be enhanced if your DUI is classified as a felony because you injured or killed someone.

The penalty for DUI Manslaughter, for example, is up to 15 years in prison under certain circumstances.

Contact Orlando Defense Today

Whether you have been charged with DUI in Florida as a felony or misdemeanor, call us. You can also contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Se habla Español.

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