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DUI Penalties

The Florida Legislature has legalized a definitive list of mandatory Florida DUI penalties. The penalties are divided into two distinct arenas:

Administrative penalties and Criminal penalties

Summarily, DUI penalties will vary depending upon the following factors:

  • Was this your first DUI arrest or were there priors?
  • Did you provide a breath sample or did your refuse?
  • Were your breath or blood results higher than .20?
  • Was there a traffic crash involved?  Was anyone hurt?


Essentially, if you were arrested for a first time DUI your license will automatically be administratively suspended for a period of 6 months (if you provided a breath sample) or 1 year (if you refused to provide a breath sample). 

If you have been arrested for DUI on one prior occasion you can expect to have your license administratively suspended for 1 year (if you provided a breath sample) or 18 months (if you refused to provide a breath sample).

Go ahead, run a quick search to see if your license is suspended here.

Keep in mind, the above suspensions apply to the administrative penalties only.  The criminal suspensions vary but will be no less than 6 months for a first conviction and up to 5 years for a second conviction.

See the link marked “License Suspension” for more detailed information about the suspension process and information about obtaining a hardship (work only) license.


The police officer likely took you to jail on the day or night that you were arrested.  This may or may not be the end of your jail time depending upon whether or not you are actually convicted of DUI.

Unlike the automatic administrative suspension of your license, you are only sentenced to further jail time if you are convicted of the DUI for which you were arrested.  In other words, no conviction equals no further jail. 

A first time DUI conviction can carry a maximum sentence of 6 months in county jail.  A second conviction within 5 years can involve a jail sentence of up to 9 months but no less than 10 days in county jail.

A third conviction within 10 years is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.  Subsequent DUI convictions are automatically considered felonies punishable by up to five years in prison.

If there was a crash involved with your arrest and if anyone was injured the jail penalties and other punishments will increase, sometimes dramatically.

Jail sentences vary from judge to judge and county to county.  Of course, it is always better not to be convicted of DUI and thereby avoid jail altogether.


Among the other penalties accompanying a DUI conviction include extended reporting probation, heavy monetary fines, an ignition interlock device, counseling, impoundment of your vehicle, and community service work.

If you’re concerned about the outcome of your DUI arrest and you wish to attempt to avoid the mandatory penalties associated with a DUI conviction contact The Law Office of Thomas M. Hutton.

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Address: 475 Harrison Avenue Suite 100 Panama City, Florida 32401 Phone: (850) 215-DUI1 (3841)