Florida Legal Information - Steven deLaroche
Frequently Asked Questions - DUI in Florida

Criminal Defense, Business Law, and Family Law from an experienced attorney in New Smyrna Beach, contact Steven deLaroche, Attorney at Law at 386-947-0909.

What are the Florida DUI penalties?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Florida. It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher if you are over 21 years old, or .02% or higher if you are under 21 years old. You can also be charged with DUI if you are impaired by drugs or alcohol, even if your BAC is below the legal limit.

If you are arrested for DUI, you will be taken to the police station for a breath test or blood test. If your BAC is above the legal limit, or if you refuse to submit to a test, you will be charged with DUI.

Florida DUI Penalties

The penalties for DUI in Florida vary depending on the number of prior DUI offenses you have. The following table shows the maximum penalties for each number of DUI offenses:

Offense Jail Time Fine Driver's License Revocation
First DUI 6 months $1,000 180 days
Second DUI within 5 years 1 year $2,000 5 years
Third DUI within 10 years 5 years $5,000 10 years
Fourth DUI or more 5 years $5,000 Permanent

In addition to the penalties listed above, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car. An IID is a device that prevents you from starting your car if your BAC is above the legal limit.

If you are arrested for DUI in Florida, it is important to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your rights and defend your case.

Is DUI a felony in Florida?

There are some cases when a DUI charge in Florida is a felony. However, if this is your first-offense, then the DUI charge is almost always considered a misdemeanor. 

In Florida, if you already have two DUI convictions within the past 10 years, you will be charged with felony DUI. If you get caught drinking and driving a fourth time or more, then you will be charged with felony DUI in Florida regardless of how recent your past convictions were. 

Also, even if this is your first-offense, if your DUI involves serious property damage or injury to another individual, you could be charged with a very serious felony. Felony DUIs can result in much harsher penalties including years in prison and fines well into the thousands of dollars.

Boating Under the Influence in Florida (BUI)


With 1,350 miles of general coastline*, and ranking second only to Alaska in shoreline length, Florida is a boater’s paradise. If you include the mileage from outer coast, offshore islands, sounds, bays, rivers, and creeks, Florida offers an additional 8,436 miles* for boaters – and you don’t need a license to operate a recreational craft.

That’s the great thing about living in Florida.

What’s not so great is that Florida also leads the nation in annual number of boating deaths, including both seasoned boaters and the thousands of tourists that flock to our waterways every year. Alcohol, excessive speed, inattention, and inexperience are the four most prominent causes of fatal accidents. Unfortunately, these are usually present in combinations that all but guarantee a tragic boating accident.

You may not know that Boating Under the Influence (BUI) carries most of the same penalties as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The same Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 in Florida for a driver 21 or over will result in BUI charges. Don’t let underage drinkers drink, either. Their BAC only has to be .02 to be illegal. The U.S. Coast Guard can pull you over and board at any time, for any reason. Don’t resist. The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety of your boat, as well as those around you. They can inspect you, or the vessel, without seeing you do anything wrong.

If you refuse to submit to any sobriety tests, you will be subject to a minimum $500 and 50 hours of community service. An arrest for boating BUI in Florida can lead to a criminal record, probation, possible incarceration, fines, court costs, community service, alcohol courses, and your boat being impounded.

If you are pulled over, in control of the boat, and are charged with a BUI, whether “native” or tourist, you need an experienced and tenacious Daytona Beach criminal defense attorney to represent you. For tourists, this means you may not have to come back to appear in court.

You can’t afford to be convicted of a BUI. Don’t go this alone. Let’s talk about your case. Call me as soon as possible at (386) 947-0909 for the best criminal legal representation you can find in Central Florida.


*US Coast Guard 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics