When is DUI a Felony in Florida?

In Florida, the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances and drugs is covered under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. It can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, but it depends on a variety of factors, such as the person's history of DUIs and whether anyone was injured or killed.

Generally, Florida DUI is a misdemeanor, but that is not always the case. A DUI defendant can be charged with a felony DUI if they are a repeat offender, or if they were involved in an accident involving serious bodily injury or death.

A Florida DUI is prosecuted as a felony when:

  • The defendant has been convicted of a third DUI within a 10-year time period.
  • The defendant is convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI.
  • The defendant seriously injured someone else as a result of driving under the influence.
  • The defendant killed someone else while driving under the influence.

Penalties for a Florida Felony DUI

In Florida, the penalties for a felony DUI are as follows:

  • Third DUI within 10 years or fourth or subsequent DUI is a third degree felony, punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and/or 5 years in prison.
  • A DUI involving serious bodily injury is also a third degree felony, punishable by up to a $5,000 fine, and/or 5 years in prison.

DUI Involving Death is a Felony

Another felony DUI classification involves DUI manslaughter under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. DUI manslaughter is a second degree felony, punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 or 15 years in prison, or both.

DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene is a first degree felony, punishable by not more than a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years behind bars. A person commits this offense when the driver convicted of DUI manslaughter fails to render aid after a DUI accident and flees the scene.

If you, or someone you love is facing felony DUI charges, don’t hesitate to contact a Tampa DUI attorney from Thomas & Paulk, P.A. As former prosecutors who have handled thousands of cases, we can provide you with a hard-hitting defense!