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Second DUI Offense

DUI attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Imagine going through the stressful ordeal of a DUI arrest once, only to find yourself facing the same daunting situation again. Florida takes a tough stance against those who repeatedly drive under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances.

When someone is accused of DUI a second time, the penalties increase dramatically. In fact, Florida law provides for certain enhanced penalties even if the prior conviction occurred out of state. The statutory minimum penalties depend on whether the prior conviction occurred within five years or outside of a five-year period. From increased fines, longer license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, and lengthier potential incarceration, the harsh consequences are designed to protect public safety and deter repeat offenders.

With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tallahassee, Florida, you may be able to avoid a DUI conviction. The goal in many of these cases is to have the charge reduced to a less serious offense such as reckless driving. Hiring a skilled defense attorney is not only an investment in your immediate future, but also a step towards protecting your long-term well-being. A defense attorney can help you by negotiating with the prosecutors, explore alternative sentencing options, or challenge the evidence against you to get your charges dropped.

Lawyer for a Second DUI in Tallahassee

A second DUI has the potential to severely impact your future. A DUI conviction can haunt you for several years, even after you have endured the criminal penalties. With penalties such as paying expensive fines, getting your license suspended or an Ignition interlock device (“IID”) installed, and facing imprisonment, the stakes are too high to take lightly.

The attorneys at Pumphrey Law Firm have years of experience representing clients charged with all levels of drunk driving. Our attorneys have hands-on knowledge of DUI cases, including those who have been trained on the operation of the Intoxilyzer 8000, the approved breath test machine in Florida.

Let the attorneys at Pumphrey Law help you make the best decisions for your future. Call (850) 681-7777 to discuss your case. The firm represents clients in Tallahassee and the surrounding areas in North Florida’s Big Bend region including Monticello in Jefferson County, Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Quincy in Gadsden County and Bristol in Liberty County.

Second DUI Charge in Florida

A DUI offense is defined under Florida Statute Section 316.193 as when an individual drives a vehicle or is found in actual physical control of a vehicle and either:

  • Has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher;
  • Has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher; or
  • Has their normal faculties impaired due to the consumption of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances.

Important: “Actual physical control” means that even where a defendant was not operating the vehicle at the time of the arrest, they were in a position where they had the immediate ability to operate the vehicle. For example, a defendant found passed out in the driver seat—even parked in a lot—is considered in actual physical control and can face a DUI charge.

For a person to be charged with a second DUI offense, it implies that they have already been convicted of a prior Florida DUI or out-of-state DUI offense.

Civil or Criminal Penalties After a Second DUI?

After getting arrested for a suspected second DUI, there will be two different types of cases will be pending against you. The process is similar to the first DUI arrest in which there will be the possibility of both civil penalties and criminal penalties.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) will begin an automatic administrative action to suspend your driver license immediately after your arrest. It’s important to note that the civil case is completely independent of the criminal case. This means you can win the administrative case and lose the criminal case, or vise-versa.

In addition, a prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office in Florida will initiate a criminal prosecution against you for driving under the influence. If the charge is a misdemeanor, the case will be prosecuted in County Court. However, if it is a felony, it will be prosecuted in Circuit Court in the county in which you were arrested.

Civil Case to Suspend Your Florida Driver’s License

After a DUI arrest, you have the right to request a DMV formal review hearing to protect your driver’s license. This can be beneficial to your case, especially for a second arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In some cases, you may be able to continue to drive without any restrictions while your criminal case is pending.

However, even if you are not awarded your ability to drive at the formal review hearing, the process still could prove beneficial to you. The evidence and testimony gained during the civil hearing may assist your attorney in fighting the criminal charges in court.

After the arrest, the officer will take your driver’s license and issue you a 10-day driving permit if you are eligible. You must file a demand for a formal review hearing within those 10 days or your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for either 12 months or 18 months, depending on whether you submitted a breath test or not and whether you have previously refused to submit to a breath test.

  • Breath Test: If you blew over the legal limit of 0.08 then a 12-month suspension could be put in place. After serving 30 days of hard time, during which you cannot drive for any reason, you may become eligible for a ‘business purpose only’ license. This type of license will allow you to drive to and from school, work, the hospital and other specified places for business purposes for the rest of the 12-month period.
  • First Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test: If you refuse a breath test, you likely will receive a 12-month suspension. After serving 90 days of hard time, you may become eligible for a business purpose only license for the rest of the 12-month period.
  • Second Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test: If you are found to have previously refused a breath, blood, or chemical test, a second refusal could result in an 18-month suspension. No hardship license is available after a refusal case involving a prior refusal for the entire 18-month period.

If you blew under the legal limit and then submitted to a urine test, no administrative action will occur. Likewise, if you submitted to a blood test the officer does not typically take your driver’s license and initiate an administrative action.

If you retain an attorney during the 10 days after your second DUI arrest and demand a formal review hearing, your attorney may be able to help you obtain a 42-day driving permit. During those 42 days, you can continue driving for business purposes while your attorney prepares for the formal review hearing. Read more about DMV formal review hearings.

Penalties for Second DUI

The penalties for a second DUI depend on whether the prior offense occurred within five years or outside of five years as shown by the driving record. Depending on certain factors, you may be asked to provide your out-of-state driving record.

Even if the prosecutor does not treat the case as a second offense for sentencing, the DMV still can impose the second offense suspension period. A prior conviction can include any DUI, BUI or alcohol-related driving offense from another state such as DWI or OVI.

However, if a driver has a more serious DUI conviction, such as a DUI with serious bodily injury or a DUI manslaughter, the penalties could be different. In addition, if the driver has an underage DUI, the punishment may be affected.

Under Florida Statute Section 316.193, a second DUI offense is considered a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida. However, the penalties are more severe than a standard second-degree misdemeanor. In addition, the specific penalties will be based on whether the second DUI offense occurred within five years or outside of five years from the first DUI conviction.

Second DUI Outside of Five Years

If the second driving under the influence arrest is outside of five years from the prior DUI conviction, then the offense will be generally treated the same as a first DUI as far as mandatory penalties required by Florida statutes.

A defendant convicted of a second DUI offense outside of five years may face any of the following penalties:

  • Up to nine months in jail;
  • Up to twelve months of probation;
  • Minimum six-month driver license suspension up to twelve months;
  • Fine of $1,000 or more, but less than $2,000;
  • Ten-day vehicle impoundment;
  • Mandatory one-year IID installation in all vehicles owned or operated by the defendant;
  • 50 hours of community service;
  • Completion of DUI Substance Abuse Course; and
  • A completed psychosocial evaluation to determine if treatment for substance abuse is required.

One serious consequence of a second DUI conviction is that the driver is not eligible for a hardship license after a second administrative suspension for refusing to submit, or after a second conviction for DUI. This means the driver likely will have restricted driving abilities.

Second DUI within Five Years of Prior DUI Conviction

If your second DUI arrest occurred within five years of the first DUI conviction, you could face the following statutory minimum requirements:

  • Jail time
    At least 10 days in jail, 48 hours of which must be served consecutively. The statutory maximum jail time for a second DUI involves nine months.
  • Driver license revocation
    The court must revoke the defendant’s driver’s license for a minimum of five years. This means the defendant is not eligible for a hardship license of a minimum of 12 months if DUI school is completed. The defendant must remain in the supervised program for the rest of the period and must not have consumed any alcohol or driven any vehicle for the specified 12 months.
  • Probation
    The court to impose up to 12 months of probation with credit for any jail time imposed.
  • Fines
    The court is required to impose fines between $1,000 and $2,000.
  • Community Service
    The court is required to impose a special condition that 50 hours of community service is completed during the term of probation.
  • Vehicle impoundment
    The court is required to order the defendant to immobilize any vehicle in his or her name for 30 days, which must occur after the jail sentence is imposed. This condition may be waived if another family member depends on that vehicle for transportation.
  • Level Two DUI School
    The defendant is required to complete the level II DUI school, which consist of classroom instruction, a drug and alcohol substance abuse evaluation and follow up treatment.
  • Ignition interlock device
    The court must impose at least 12 months of having an ignition interlock device installed in the defendant’s vehicle. If the Blood or Breath Alcohol Concentration is 0.15 or more, the punishment could be 24 months.

Even after you have completed all the terms and conditions imposed by the court, drivers still must reinstate his or her driver’s license. For reinstatement, you must show proof of obtaining FR-44 insurance, pay a reinstatement fee of $60, pay an administrative fee of $115 and pay a driver’s license fee.

Enhanced Penalties for Second DUI

Florida law has enhanced penalties for a person convicted of a second DUI offense when the defendant meets either of the following:

  • Had a blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level of 0.15 or higher; or
  • Had a minor present in the vehicle at the time of the second DUI arrest.

If the defendant’s blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level was measured at 0.15 or higher, the judge must impose the following enhanced penalties:

  • Up to one year in jail;
  • Fine of $2,000 or higher, but less than $4,000; and
  • Mandatory placement of an IID upon all motor vehicles used, owned, or frequently used by the convicted person for no less than two years.

If the defendant had a minor present in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, the judge must impose the following enhanced penalties:

  • Up to one year in jail; and
  • Fine of $2,000 or higher, but less than $4,000.

Level 2 DUI School in Tallahassee

After a conviction for a second DUI in Florida, you will be required to enroll in Level 2 DUI School in Tallahassee at the North Florida Safety Council (sometimes called the DUI School for multiple offenders). If you register online, you must pay an online pre-registration fee of $437 by credit card.

If you register in the office, call to schedule a registration appointment. Registration in the office is $420 which must be paid by cash or money order. If you want to pay by credit card in the office, you must pay an additional convenience fee.

After registering, be sure to pick up your proof of enrollment and return the required enrollment forms. Under Florida Administrative Rule 15a.10 and Florida Statute 316.193(5), the Department of Motor Vehicles will require completion of the 21 hour course and an evaluation to satisfy certain statutory requirements so that you can reinstate your license after a suspension for a second offense of DUI, DUI refusal, DUBAL, DWI, DUI reduced to WWRD (reckless driving if substance abuse related).

In some cases, you must also enroll in DUI school after a conviction for Boating under the Influence or other related crimes. Additionally, even if you have never been convicted of DUI before, you might still be required to take level II DUI School for a second or subsequent lifetime arrest of a DUI related crime or if you have already completed a level one DUI program for any other reason.

In addition to providing classes in Leon County, FL, the North Florida Safety Council also serves people who live and work in Franklin County, Gadsden County, Jefferson County, Liberty County, Wakulla County, Madison County, and Taylor County.

Defenses to a Second DUI Charge

If you’ve found yourself facing a second DUI offense, you may be feeling as if there is no escape from Florida’s harsh penalties. It is important to remind yourself that an arrest is not the same thing as a guilty verdict. By hiring an experienced defense attorney with Pumphrey Law Firm, you can work towards building a strong defense including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Unlawful traffic stop by police;
  • Improper field sobriety exercises;
  • Insufficient probable cause; or
  • Inadmissible breath test results.

Each DUI case is unique and will require a defense attorney’s review and analysis to determine which defenses are applicable to fighting the charges against you. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm today to receive a free consultation to discuss possible defense options for your case.

Finding an Attorney for a Second DUI in Tallahassee

In Florida, the stakes are high for any DUI arrest. This is especially true for defendants who had previous DUI convictions in the past. Obtaining an experienced Tallahassee DUI Attorney early in your case may make a huge difference in how the case is resolved. Our attorneys will work with you to build a strong defense to fight your case and win back your future. 

Contact Pumphrey Law Firm’s office at (850) 681-7777 for any drunk driving offense in Tallahassee or any of the surrounding counties, including Quincy in Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Gadsden County, Monticello in Jefferson County, and Bristol in Liberty County. Contact us now for a free consultation with a lawyer.

Page updated June 15, 2023

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