Once the dust settles after a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest, one of the most immediate concerns that people have is how much it will cost them. This blog will help you gain a clear picture of the financial ramifications as well as the long-term consequences of a Florida DUI.
Fines & Legal Fees for Florida DUI
A DUI conviction comes with serious consequences, including steep fines. The penalties, outlined in Florida Statues § 316.193, will vary depending on your blood alcohol content (BAC) when pulled over as well as prior convictions. For first-time offenders, the fine will range from $500 to $1,000. The penalty increases dramatically for each new offense, with fines topping out at $5,000.
Another concern that people have when they face DUI charges is how much an attorney will cost. The importance of quality representation cannot be understated. Many criminal defense lawyers will try to draw clients in by offering low prices, but you should be wary of this approach. You must recognize how much you stand to lose—financially and otherwise—if you are convicted. The money you spend on securing the best representation possible will end up saving you in the long run.
Other Costs Associated with Florida DUI
Beyond legal fees and fines, there are a few other costs associated with DUI. You’ll have to pay to get your car back after it has been impounded, which can cost $200 or more (especially if this is your second or third offense). If the court requires you to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed, you should expect to pay around $200 for the installation and $75 in monthly maintenance and calibration costs.
After a DUI conviction, your insurance costs will also change. You’ll be required to have FR-44 insurance with increased coverage for three years—which is often two or three times the cost of your original policy. Finally, you’ll have to complete a court-mandated DUI program in order to restore your driving privileges. Your costs will vary depending on the program you are required to enroll in, but the registration alone will be between $280 and $425.
Non-Financial Consequences of Florida DUI
The long-term consequences of DUI are numerous and are not limited to financial concerns. Below we will discuss some of the other ways a conviction can affect your life.
Non-financial consequences of DUI include:
- Jail—While most first-time offenders do not serve time, you face up to six months in jail. The potential sentence increases for repeat offenses or DUI that causes injury or death.
- Driving Privileges—Your license will be suspended for six months as soon as you are arrested for DUI. You then have 10 days to schedule a hearing with the Florida DMV to challenge the suspension and win back your driving privileges. Learn more about this process in our blog: Can You Drive After a DUI Arrest in Florida?
- Community Service—If you are convicted, the court will typically order a certain number of community service hours to be completed within a specific timeframe.
- Employment—Your current and future employment are at risk after a DUI. Because Florida is an at-will employment state, your employer has a right to fire you for a DUI arrest. And because most employers require applicants to undergo background checks, your ability to secure future employment will be hindered.
- Professional Licenses—Some professional licenses will be canceled or denied if you have a DUI conviction, preventing you from working in your field of choice.
- Higher Education—Many colleges will deny applicants who have any kind of criminal conviction on their records, including DUI.
- Housing—Landlords and property management companies will often require background checks of prospective tenants, potentially causing your application to be denied or passed on.
- Immigration—Drug-related DUI or felony DUI can lead to deportation. Learn more about this topic in our blog: Can You Get Deported for DUI?
- Travel—You may be denied entry into some countries with a recent DUI conviction. This blog provides more information about how a DUI will affect your ability to travel abroad.
- Child Custody—A DUI conviction can be used against you in child custody disputes.
These collateral consequences of a conviction should be considered when evaluating the cost of a Florida DUI because they represent the other losses you stand to suffer—damage to your reputation and overall quality of life.
Arrested for DUI in Florida? Call Thomas & Paulk, P.A. Now
Understanding the true cost of a Florida DUI makes it clear that having the right attorney behind you is important. Our Tampa DUI lawyers have handled more than 7,000 criminal cases and know how to fight for clients when their futures are on the line. We will do everything we can to give you the strongest chance of success, whether that is fighting to reduce your charges, get your case dismissed, or have you completely acquitted.
More questions? Read our DUI FAQs or contact us for your free case review. Our experienced criminal lawyers are available 24/7 and help clients throughout Florida: (813) 321-7323.