Florida DUI Felony
Depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case, a DUI in Florida can be charged as a felony. Typically, a first-offense DUI is charged as a misdemeanor so long as it does not involve a crash with injuries. You can also be charged with a felony DUI if you have prior DUI convictions on your criminal record. As you might imagine, being charged with even a misdemeanor DUI is a very serious matter. However, a felony DUI charge carries penalties and consequences that are significantly more serious and harsh than a misdemeanor DUI charge.
Florida’s Felony DUI Law
In Florida, even a first-offense DUI can be a felony offense. Even if you have a clean criminal record, if you’re charged with a first-offense DUI that involves a crash with injuries you will be faced with a felony charge. For example, if you get behind the wheel of a car with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.8% or higher and you cause an accident with serious bodily injuries, your DUI charge can be elevated to a third-degree felony. Moreover, if you drive while over the legal limit and you cause an accident that results in another person’s death or the death of an unborn child, your DUI charge can be elevated to DUI manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony in Florida. Additionally, if you are a repeat DUI offender, your DUI charge can be elevated to a felony. A third-offense DUI within a ten-year period is a third-degree felony under Florida law.
Penalties for Felony DUI under Florida Law
A felony is a much more serious offense than a misdemeanor. For starters, you will be faced with the distinct possibility of serving a significant amount of time in the state prison system rather than a few days or months in your local jail. A third-degree DUI felony carries up to five years in prison. A DUI manslaughter felony carries up to fifteen years in prison. Additionally, you will be faced with high fines, and it is likely that your sentence will include probation time, community service and completion of an alcohol treatment program.