If you have been pulled over on suspicion of a first driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Jacksonville, you may be feeling anxious or nervous about the potential penalties if you convicted of the offense. Although a first drinking and driving conviction can result in serious penalties and repercussions, an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Jacksonville may be able to identify mitigating factors or defenses to your alleged offense.
WARNING: It is important to remember if you received an administrative license suspension for refusing to submit to chemical testing or failing to pass an intoxication test after your first suspicion of DUI charges, you only have ten days to request a formal or informal review of your license suspension under Fla. Stat. § 322.2615(1)(b)(3).
Jacksonville First DUI Attorney
Contact Roelke Law today to speak with an experienced Florida DUI defense lawyer. Bill Roelke is a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney who will help you aggressively fight the criminal charges you are facing. Contact Roelke Law for a free consultation today at (904) 354-0333 if you have been charged with a first DUI in Jacksonville, Saint Augustine, Fernandina Beach and Orange Park.
Jacksonville First DUI Information Center
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Definition of First DUI in Florida
An individual can be charged with their first driving under the influence (DUI) offense if their blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit or their normal faculties are impaired, and they are in actual physical control of a vehicle on a Florida road, according to Fla. Stat. § 316.193.
A driver can be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in Florida if they are in the car and capable of operating it or close enough to the vehicle to operate it. An individual can still be charged with DUI in Florida even if they are not actually driving the vehicle.
An individual can be charged with a DUI if their normal faculties are impaired due to the consumption of alcoholic beverages or any type of controlled substances. Normal faculties include hearing, walking, talking, depth perception, driving, making judgments and/or the ability to perform any normal daily mental and physical acts, according to Fla. Stat. § 316.1934.
An individual can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs or controlled substance if their normal faculties are impaired from any substance listed in Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes, which contains Florida's Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act.
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Florida's DUI Legal Limit
A per se DUI arrest in Florida can occur when an individual has a breath or blood alcohol level over Florida's legal limit. An individual who does have a BAC over the legal limit can automatically be arrested for DUI, as stated in Fla. Stat. § 316.193.
As defined in section 316.193(1) of the Florida Statutes, the legal limit in Florida is measured by either the driver's breath-alcohol level or blood-alcohol level. This level is defined in § 316.193(1)(b) and (c) as .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
This level is very low, and often individuals who have one or two drinks can meet or exceed the legal limit in Florida, even if they believe they are capable of driving their car.
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First DUI Penalties in Jacksonville
Common penalties that can result from a first DUI conviction can include the following:
- A fine between $500 and $1,000,
- A driver’s license suspension for 180 days to a year,
- Vehicle impoundment up to 10 days,
- Probation, and/or
- Up to six months in jail.
Additionally, an individual has been charged with a first DUI in Florida could face the possibility of having an ignition interlocking device installed on their vehicle. An ignition interlock device is an in-car breath alcohol screening machine. The device is installed in the individual’s vehicle and requires the driver to take and pass a breath test before their car will start. If the driver's breath alcohol level is above 0.05%, their car will fail to start. Anyone who is required to install an ignition interlock device is also required to pay all fees related to the installation and maintenance of the device.
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Enhanced Penalties for a First DUI in Jacksonville
Under certain circumstances, an individual can face enhanced penalties for their first DUI in Jacksonville. For instance, if an individual had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.15 or higher, or they were accompanied by a minor under the age of 18 at the time of their DUI arrest, they can face any of the following penalties:
- A maximum jail sentence of up to nine months in jail,
- A fine between $1,000 and $2,000, and/or
- Required installation of an ignition interlock device for at least six months.
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First DUI Program in Florida
An individual who has been convicted of a first DUI may also be required to complete an approved Florida DUI program. This program is designed to provide education and psychological evaluation and treatment referral services to DUI offenders.
There are two levels to Florida's DUI program. Level I is designated for first time offenders and Level II is designated for repeat offenders. The Level I portion of the program consists of a minimum of 12 classroom hours and incorporates interactive educational techniques. The program must be approved by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
If an individual has had their driver’s license suspended as a result of a DUI conviction, they may be required to show proof of successful completion of the program before they can be eligible to reinstate their license.
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Jacksonville Resources for First DUI
Florida DUI Program - This link is to the DUI schools in Florida that have been approved by the Bureau of Driver Education and DUI Programs. Individuals who are required to attend a DUI program as a result of a DUI conviction can access programs available in their county at this link. DUI schools serving Duval, St. Johns, Nassau and Clay counties in Florida can be located at:
Northeast Florida Safety Council, Inc.
1725 Art Museum Drive
Jacksonville, Florida 32207
Phone: (904) 399-3119
Alcoholics Anonymous - This organization provides men and women an opportunity to discuss their experiences associated with an addiction to alcohol or substance abuse. Participants in the program are able to seek advice from others with similar circumstances and encourage each other to maintain a sober lifestyle. A local Alcoholics Anonymous group can be located at:
Northeast Florida Intergroup
Phone: (904) 399-8535
Florida Constitution and Statutes – This link is to section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes, which specifically outlines the elements of a first DUI offense and the penalties an individual can face if they are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Jacksonville.
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Roelke Law, P.A. | Duval County First DUI Lawyer
If you have been charged with a first DUI offense in Duval County, Florida and the surrounding areas of St. Johns County, Nassau County and Clay County, contact Roelke Law today. Bill Roelke is an experienced Jacksonville DUI defense attorney who can help you throughout the entire DUI process in Florida including at your administrative license suspension hearing. Contact Roelke Law today for a free consultation at (904) 354-0333 or send an online message about your alleged driving under the influence offense.
Contributor: William Roelke