If you have been arrested for a DUI, you probably have many questions. One of the most pressing questions might be, “Will I go to jail?”

Let’s look at the facts and answer the question, “How likely is jail time for first DUI in Florida?”

How Likely Is Jail Time for First DUI in Florida?

In most cases, jail time for a first DUI in Florida is unlikely but possible.

There is no minimum jail time for a first DUI in Florida, but someone convicted of a DUI can receive up to six months in jail. The severity of the consequences depends heavily on the circumstances of the DUI charge. The consequences of DUI are more severe in cases when:

  • The driver had a very high BAC.
  • There was a passenger under 18 involved.
  • Property was damaged during the incident.
  • Someone was injured during the incident.

Getting arrested for a DUI is a serious situation that comes with serious consequences. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. They can help you understand the potential consequences, as each DUI is different.

Will You Face a Felony for Your First DUI?

In most cases, a first time DUI is charged as a misdemeanor in Florida, but it is possible for the charge to be elevated to a felony.

As with potential jail time, the severity of the charges of a first time DUI depends heavily on the circumstances. A first time DUI can be charged as a felony if:

  • The DUI caused serious bodily harm to another person.
  • The DUI resulted in the death of another person.
  • There was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
  • The driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was extremely high.

Second DUIs are also typically charged as misdemeanors, but drivers charged with more than two DUIs may face felonies. A DUI may be classified as a felony if the driver has had at least two other DUIs within the last ten years.

Related: Is a DUI a Felony in Florida? What Charges Should You Expect? 

What Consequence Will You Face for Your First DUI?

For a first time DUI where no one was injured, no property was damaged, and the driver’s BAC was under .15%, the penalties may include:

  • Fines between $500-$1,000
  • Up to one year of probation
  • Loss of license for 180 days to one year
  • Up to 50 hours of community service
  • Impoundment of vehicle for ten days
  • Completion of substance abuse counseling and/or DUI school

A first time DUI can also result in up to six months in jail per Florida Statute 316.193.

A judge may choose to impose jail time depending on the circumstances of the DUI. For this reason, it’s essential to talk to a DUI attorney who can help you avoid jail time.

First time DUIs that cause harm can lead to more serious consequences.

  • A DUI that caused serious bodily harm is a third-degree felony that can result in five years in prison, up to five years probation, and a $5,000 fine.
  • A DUI that caused a death is a second-degree felony that can result in 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Related: What to Expect From a First Offense DUI

Will You Lose Your License After a First DUI?

In most cases, first time DUIs will lead to the loss of driving privileges. License suspension in Florida is defined under Florida Statute 322.28. Under this statute, a driver’s license can be revoked for 180 days but not more than one year.

In some cases, drivers may be able to apply for a hardship license to gain privileges to drive to work, school, or other essential predetermined locations (such as a doctor’s office, grocery store, church, etc.).

Related: What To Do About a DUI License Suspension in Florida 

Can You Clear Your Record After Your First DUI?

Florida has strict rules regarding DUI records. If you have been convicted of a DUI In Florida, the criminal record cannot be removed or expunged. The charge will stay on your record for up to 75 years.

Because a DUI conviction can stay on your record for decades in Florida, it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as you are charged. A DUI attorney may be able to get your records sealed or expunged if you can get the case dismissed or dropped to a lesser charge before you are officially convicted.

Related: How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Talk to an Attorney About Your First DUI in Florida

A DUI is a serious charge that can lead to jail time in certain situations. It is important to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you are charged to begin to lessen the potential consequences of a DUI.

If you are in Western or Central Florida, talk to Tampa DUI attorney TJ Grimaldi. All clients work directly with TJ on their case, and consultations are free. Request your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 now.

TJ Grimaldi

TJ Grimaldi

TJ Grimaldi joined McIntyre in 2011. McIntyre recruited TJ to create the divisions of personal injury and family law, as well as to expand the existing criminal defense practice at the firm. During TJ’s tenure at McIntyre, he has helped oversee and grow these practice areas. He continues to practice in these divisions while also expanding his own practice areas to include estate planning and immigration law. TJ is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Florida and the United States District Court for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida.