Does a DUI Conviction Count as a Criminal Offense?

Many people believe that driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is only a traffic offense. However, it is possible for a DUI to become a criminal offense in the state of Florida. If you are convicted of three drunk driving offenses within your lifetime, you will be charged with a felony. Felony convictions can result in significantly steeper penalties than a misdemeanor, and you can lose various rights as a result. If you’ve been charged with your third DUI, it is vital to protect your rights with the help of an experienced Tampa DUI defense lawyer.

Penalties for a DUI Becoming a Criminal Offense

When a person drinks and drives, they are putting their life and the lives of others in danger. For this reason, the law enforces heftier penalties to those who have three or more DUI convictions. A person convicted of a third DUI offense can result in up to five years in prison. If one of your cases involves another person’s injury or death, it could result in up to 15 years of prison. You may also be required to pay extensive fines, partake in community service, and get alcohol treatment. Aside from these penalties, you might even lose various rights and privileges.

Some of the privileges you may lose if you are convicted of a felony DUI include:

  • The right to possess a firearm
  • The right to vote while incarcerated
  • The right to join the military
  • The right to drive

Strong Legal Representation For People Facing DUI Charges

If you were charged with your third DUI offense, it is vital to have an experienced attorney on your side. Since a DUI can result in serious penalties, you need strong legal representation to protect your rights. At Thomas & Paulk, P.A., we have handled over 7,000 criminal cases, and we have helped countless people obtain the best possible results for their case. Our experienced legal team offers reliable advice and representation to clients who have been charged with both misdemeanor and felony offenses in Florida. Let our team of skilled and experienced attorneys guide you through the entire legal process.

Contact our Tampa DUI defense attorneys today at (813) 321-7323 to discover the different legal options available for you!