DUI in Florida is a felony in some situations. A DUI can be a felony charge if a person has a certain number of previous DUI convictions within a specific timeframe.
DUI also can result in a felony if a person causes serious bodily injury or death to others as a result of driving under the influence.
Third DUI Convictions Within Ten Years of a Prior Conviction
If you are facing your third DUI charge within ten years of a prior conviction, you will face third-degree felony DUI charges under Florida Statutes §316.193(2)(b)(1). A felony DUI conviction generally results in harsher penalties than a misdemeanor DUI conviction.
If you are convicted of a third-degree felony, you will face a minimum of 30 days in jail and a maximum of five years in state prison. You also may be placed on probation for as long as five years.
The court may order you to pay a fine of as much as $5,000, with a minimum fine of $4,000 if your blood alcohol measures .15% or higher or you have a child under the age of 18 present in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.
Additional Consequences for a Third-Degree Felony Conviction
You will face other consequences for a third-degree felony conviction, as well. Your license will be revoked for ten years, and you will be required to install an ignition interlock device for two years when you are legally able to drive again. Your vehicle will be impounded for 90 days, and you will have to complete Level II DUI school.
Fourth or Subsequent DUI Convictions
Under Florida Statutes §316.193(2)(b)(3), you also will face third-degree felony charges for a DUI if it is your fourth or subsequent DUI conviction, no matter how long it has been since your last DUI conviction. The penalties for this offense generally remain the same, except that this offense carries a minimum fine of $2,000.
Your license also will be permanently revoked for a fourth DUI conviction, even if one or more convictions were out of state in most cases. You only will be able to drive again if you get a hardship or restricted license.
However, you are ineligible for a hardship license until at least five years have passed since your most recent DUI conviction or five years after the date that you were released from incarceration, whichever is later.
DUI with Serious Bodily Injury
A charge for DUI with serious bodily injury under Florida Statutes §316.193(3)(2) also is a third-degree felony offense. Florida Statutes 316.1933(1)(b) defines a serious bodily injury as any injury that causes:
- A substantial risk of death
- Serious personal disfigurement, or
- Extended or permanent loss or impairment in usage of a bodily member or organ
Like other DUI third-degree felony charges, you could face up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000 if convicted. You also would face a three-year license revocation.
If it is your second DUI conviction, however, the minimum license revocation period is five years, and if it is your third DUI conviction, the minimum license revocation is ten years.
Florida Statutes §316.193(3)(3)(a) establishes the criminal offense of DUI manslaughter. This offense is a second-degree felony, which can result in a 15-year prison sentence and a $10,000 maximum fine, in addition to other penalties. You also will face permanent revocation of your license, although you may be eligible for a hardship license at some point, depending on your situation.
However, if you were driving under the influence and knew or should have known that an accident occurred, but you did not try to help the injured person or provide information about the accident, you can face first-degree felony charges under Florida Statutes §316.193(3)(3)(b).
This offense may occur if you leave the scene of a DUI accident. A conviction for a first-degree felony could cause you to serve up to 30 years in prison and be ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Learn More About When DUI Charges Can Be a Felony in Florida
When you are facing DUI charges, you probably want to get a clear sense of what penalties you could face if convicted. Knowing when a DUI in Florida is a felony is a crucial factor in weighing your options for resolving the criminal charges against you.
Fortunately, our DUI lawyers can answer your questions about the charges that you are facing and what penalties you can expect based on your situation.