DUI Penalties in Florida by hkksew3563rd

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									Florida 鈥檚 DUI laws are particularly tough, and there are a number of variables that
could contribute to the severity of your sentence. This is why DUI attorney in
Sarasota Jeff Haynes recommends that you contact an experienced lawyer
immediately if you are charged with DUI.
  What many people don 鈥檛 understand is that a DUI charge isn 鈥檛 like a
speeding ticket 鈥?you don 鈥檛 just plead guilty, pay a fine and walk away. A DUI
can change your life forever, and the penalties for conviction vary widely from state
to state. Here 鈥檚 what you can expect to face if you are convicted of DUI in
Florida.
  Criminal Charges: In Florida, all DUI cases are criminal cases. This means that any
DUI conviction could result in jail time. Many people think a DUI, especially if it 鈥
檚 a first offense, is essentially the same as a traffic ticket. But a DUI charge is a
criminal charge, no matter whether it 鈥檚 your first offense or your fifth. For this
reason, a DUI charge in Florida is certainly not something to be taken lightly.
  In some cases, DUI charges, which are normally misdemeanors, may be elevated to
felony charges. There are several situations in which this may occur: A fourth
conviction, an accident in which someone was killed, or an accident in which
someone was very seriously injured.
  Third-Degree Felony: If you are convicted of a third DUI within 10 years of your
last DUI conviction, then your charge could be elevated to a third-degree felony. If
you are convicted of a fourth DUI in Florida, regardless of the time between
convictions, your charge can also be charged as a third-degree felony. A third-degree
felony is punishable by up to five years in prison.
  You can also be charged with a third-degree felony if, while driving under the
influence of drugs or alcohol, you are responsible for an accident that results in
serious injury to another person. This type of charge is called 鈥淒 UI serious bodily
injury.鈥?Florida law defines 鈥渟 erious bodily injury 鈥?as an injury which consists
of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal
disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member
or organ.
  Second-Degree Felony: A DUI charge involving an accident in which someone was
killed (called 鈥淒 UI manslaughter 鈥? may be elevated to a second-degree felony,
which is even more serious than a DUI involving serious bodily injury. A
second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
  First-Degree Felony: If you leave the scene or you fail to render assistance after the
accident, it becomes a first-degree felony, for which you could be sentenced to as
many as 30 years in prison.
  Minimum Sentence: A recent Florida statute makes prison time mandatory for
anyone who is convicted of DUI manslaughter. As of 2009, a DUI manslaughter
conviction in Florida will result in a minimum sentence of four years in prison. And
Florida is one of the few states in the U.S. to impose a mandatory jail sentence for a
DUI conviction.
  Florida 鈥檚 DUI penalties are so steep; therefore, it 鈥檚 critical for anyone
charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol to contact an attorney
right away. In any Florida DUI case, you could conceivably find yourself facing jail
time. If you don 鈥檛 hire an attorney, you 鈥檙 e giving up any chance you may have
of avoiding conviction. Given the seriousness of the potential ramifications, it just
doesn 鈥檛 make sense to go it alone.
  This article is for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this article as
a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances, and you should not act upon
this information without seeking professional counsel. Publication of this article and
your receipt of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship.
  Jeffrey Haynes is a writer for , a business directory and online advertising company.
Find alawyer or more lawyers articles at Yodle Consumer Guide.

								
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