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The consequences of drunken-driving convictions in Florida

Drunken driving is strongly associated with motor vehicle crashes. Florida is not alone in having many drunk driving accidents that injure or kill pedestrians and motorists. Some were single-vehicle crashes and others involved one or more other vehicles. Over the decades, because of the catastrophic results of drunken driving, state legislators have passed tough laws that punish those who are convicted of such dangerous behavior.

A first conviction on a driving under the influence offense means a minimum driver's license revocation between 180 days and one year. If the DUI offense caused serious injury, then the person's license can be revoked up to three years.

Convicted drunken drivers have to apply for a hardship license before they can operate their vehicles. They may also be required to enroll in a DUI school and finish their required courses before their licenses can be reinstated. Conviction can also lead to higher insurance premiums, requiring convicted offenders to carry expensive insurance that covers bodily injury and property damage.

For second DUI offense after five years, a driver's license can be suspended between180 days and one year. Drivers again have to finish the revocation period before they can request license reinstatement. If a driver commits a second offense within five years, the driver's license can be revoked for up to five years.

Other penalties such as required enrollment in DUI school or alcohol treatment programs can also be imposed. The Special Supervision Services Program can tell if a convicted drunk driver is eligible for license reinstatement.

Because a DUI conviction can have such life-altering consequences, anyone accused of drunken driving may be better off fighting the charges and either getting the charges dismissed or having a judge or jury decide in his or her favor. This is possible with experienced legal advice and representation.

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, "Driving under the influence (DUI)," Accessed on Oct. 30, 2014

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