Drunk driving penalties in Sarasota County

Sarasota County residents who are arrested on impaired driving charges can face a wide range of serious consequences.

A wide range of people are arrested for drunk driving in Florida. Despite common stereotypes, some highly respected and responsible persons have been in these situations. Understanding what types of penalties can be faced if accused of DUI charges is very helpful and important at such times.

Florida laws regarding DUI penalties

The State Legislature website makes it clear that even for a first-time offense, Florida drunk driving laws can find a defendant facing jail time. Following are some of the basic penalties for drivers arrested with blood alcohol content levels between 0.08 percent and 0.14 percent:

  • For a first offense, fines will be between $500 and $1,000 with up to six months in jail.
  • For a second offense, fines will be between $1,000 and $2,000 with up to nine months in jail. The use of an ignition interlock device will be ordered for a minimum of one year.
  • For a third offense more than 10 years after previous ones, fines will be between $2,000 and $5,000 with up to 1 year in jail.
  • A third offense within 10 years of prior ones as well as a fourth or subsequent offense regardless of when they occur will be treated as a third degree felony.

The Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles notes that people convicted of drunk driving charges with BAC levels over 0.14 percent will face harsher penalties than those with lower BAC levels. Fines will be higher and jail time will be longer in these cases.

Other factors impact ultimate penalties

In addition to the amount of alcohol found to be in a driver's blood at the time of an arrest, there are other factors that can impact what charges and penalties a driver can face when arrested for impaired driving.

A story in MySuncoast.com indicates that a man recently arrested by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department faces multiple charges including child abuse subsequent to his DUI arrest. He was found allegedly driving while intoxicated with two children in his vehicle at the time, leading to the child abuse charges. His blood alcohol level was also noted to be greater than 0.14 percent.

Options for defendants

Despite tough laws, every person arrested for drunk driving deserves the right to a defense. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible is always recommended in these situations.

Keywords: DUI, arrest, drunk driving, penalties