Florida First Offense DUI

Florida First Offense DUI Laws Explained in Easy to Understand Simple Terms

The consequences of a first offense DUI arrest in Florida can be severe and follow a person for a long time if not dealt with swiftly by a skilled Florida DUI defense lawyer. When a person is arrested on a first offense DUI charge in Florida they will be facing two separate cases: the criminal charge of driving under the influence, which will be handled through to Florida court system and the administrative side, i.e. the drivers license, which will be dealt with through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or (FLHSMV).

Florida DUI First Offense Penalties

Jail Time

A first offense DUI in Florida will result in a jail sentence of no more than 6 months in jail for a BAL of less than .15%. A BAL of .15% or greater, or with a minor in the vehicle at the time of driving will result in a jail sentence of up to 9 months.

Drivers License Suspension

A first offense DUI will result in the driver’s license being suspended for a minimum period of 180 days (if the driver was unsuccessful at winning their administrative drivers license hearing). If another person was killed or seriously injured as a result of the defendant’s DUI, their license will be revoked for 3-years with no chance of receiving a restricted license during the revocation period.

Once you are eligible for reinstatement you will be required to maintain an FR44 filing and insurance policy with the FLHSMV before they will reinstate your license. 

Before the FLHSMV will issue a restricted license during the suspension period the person must successfully complete the required DUI schooling. If the person waits out their suspension period they will be required to at minimum show proof of enrollment in a state approved DUI school prior to having their license fully reinstated.

The driver must complete the DUI schooling within 90 days of having their license reinstated, otherwise their license will be cancelled and will not be reinstated until the person completes the required DUI school.

Ignition Interlock

For anyone arrested on a first offense DUI in Florida with a BAL of .15% or greater or a minor in the vehicle at the time, an ignition interlock device must be installed in their vehicle prior to being issued a restricted license or before full reinstatement of their license following the suspension period. The ignition interlock must remain in place for at least 6 months, possibly longer if deemed necessary.

DUI School

If you wish to obtain a hardship license during your suspension period you will need to complete an approved Florida DUI school prior to the DMV issuing you a hardship license. If you decide to wait out the suspension period, you will only need to show the DMV proof of enrollment in an approved DUI school prior to them reinstating your license following the suspension period.

Community Service

First time DUI offenders in Florida will also face a mandatory 50 hours of community service. If the person feels that are not able to perform community service they may be given the option of paying an additional fine in the amount of $10 for each hour of required community service, or $500 in additional fines.

Chemical Test Refusal

A first offense DUI chemical test refusal in Florida will result in a suspension period of 1-year with no chance of receiving a restricted license during the suspension period.

Florida Drivers License Hearing

In the state of Florida when arrested for a first offense DUI charge the arresting officer will confiscate the driver’s license and issue the driver what is referred to as a “Notice of Suspension”. This notice will act as the driver’s license for the next 10 days.

Important: A person who has been arrested on a first offense DUI charge in Florida only has 10 days from the date of arrest in which to request a hearing with the FLHSMV if they wish to avoid having their driving privileges automatically suspended for the next 6 months. If you hope to have a successful outcome at your hearing it is very important that you contact one of Florida DUI lawyers today to have our lawyers schedule your hearing and represent you at the hearing.

At the administrative license hearing the administrative hearing officer who has been assigned to hear your case will look at the evidence against you from the arresting officer including: BAC level at the time, field sobriety test results (if you submitted to them), and whether or not you submitted to a chemical test or refuse the chemical test.

The hearing officer will also hear testimony against you from the arresting officer and hear testimony in your favor from your lawyer, yourself, and any witnesses your lawyer has subpoenaed to appear at the hearing.

Florida SR22 Insurance Information

Once your suspension is over or you have been approved for a hardship or restricted license the FLHSMV will require you to file either an SR22 or FR44 insurance form with them. The only difference between an SR22 and an FR44 is the amount of liability coverage. An FR44 has twice the liability limits as an SR22 policy does.

You will be required to keep your SR22 or FR44 insurance filing with the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles for a period of 3-years from the date of being issued a hardship or restricted license or the full reinstatement of your license. If at anytime during this 3-year filing period if there is a lapse in your insurance coverage your insurer is obligated by law to inform the FLHSMV of such a lapse.

If this happens the FLHSMV will send you a letter informing you that your driver’s license has been suspended and that you will have to pay another license reinstatement fee along with filing an SR22 form with them before they will issue you another license.

Once you become eligible for a hardship license or to have your license reinstated following your suspension period you will need to do the following:

  • Signup for a Florida SR22/FR44 insurance policy.
  • Take a copy of your SR22/FR44 policy to one of Florida’s DMV office locations.
  • Pay the necessary reinstatement fees.
  • It is important that you avoid any lapse in your SR22/FR44 insurance coverage because a lapse in coverage will result in the mandatory 3-year SR22 or FR44 filing period with the FLHSMV starting all over again. For example, if you were 2-years into your SR22 filing period and had a lapse in insurance coverage, you would have to start the 3-year filing period from the beginning.
Additional Florida DUI Resources
  • Florida DUI First Offense – Detailed first offense information including punishments after a first offense DUI in Florida.
  • Florida DUI Classes – Get signed up to complete your required DUI class online today.
  • Florida SR22 Insurance – Learn everything you need to know about Florida SR22 filing requirements with the DMV and find out how you can save hundreds of dollars each year on your FloridaSR22 insurance.
  • Florida DUI Lawyers – Contact one of our Florida DUI lawyers today to discuss your pending DUI case.
  • Florida Bail Bond Agents – Contact an Florida bail bond agent to get out of jail now.
  • Florida Non-owner Insurance – If you need an SR-22 filing, but don’t own a vehicle, you need to get a non-owner policy.