fbpx

Florida DUI Lawyers



Understanding DUI Laws in Florida

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws in Florida are stringent and carry severe penalties. Understanding these laws is crucial for anyone facing a DUI charge. Florida DUI laws define DUI as operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The penalties for DUI can include fines, license suspension, community service, and even jail time, depending on the severity of the offense and any prior convictions.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Florida, it’s essential to act quickly to protect your rights and your driving privileges. At Leppard Law: DUI Lawyers, we focus exclusively on criminal defense and fighting DUI cases. When you call our office, you can speak directly with an attorney on the phone, schedule a same-day Zoom meeting, or have a face-to-face consultation at the office.

During the consultation, we can help you understand the best ways to protect your rights at every stage of the case. Our expertise in DUI defense includes handling cases involving refusal to submit to testing or a breath test reading over 0.08 or 0.15. Let us put our experience to work for you and help you fight for the best result at every stage of your case.

What is a DUI in Florida? A DUI in Florida is defined as operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

First-Time DUI Offenders

First-time DUI offenders in Florida may face penalties such as fines, probation, community service, and mandatory DUI school. Additionally, their driver’s license may be suspended for six months to a year. Understanding these consequences can help individuals make informed decisions about their legal options.

For first-time offenders, it’s crucial to understand the penalties and potential defenses available. Hiring an experienced DUI lawyer can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Our firm has been at the same location in downtown Tampa, FL, for over ten years, and we have extensive experience in defending DUI cases.

What are the penalties for first-time DUI offenders in Florida? First-time DUI offenders in Florida may face fines, probation, community service, mandatory DUI school, and a driver’s license suspension for six months to a year.

Leslie Sammis, our lead attorney, has focused her career on DUI cases for the last 20 years. She is a member of the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) and the DUI Defense Lawyers Association (DUIDLA). She has received advanced training on the Intoxilyzer 8000, the only breathalyzer currently used in Florida. With numerous “not guilty” verdicts in felony and misdemeanor DUI cases, Leslie Sammis has the experience needed to defend your case effectively.

For more information on Florida DUI laws and the penalties associated with DUI convictions, visit our comprehensive guide. If you are facing a DUI charge, contact us today for a free consultation.

DUI Sobriety Test

Understanding the nuances of DUI laws and the potential defenses available can be overwhelming. That’s why having an experienced attorney by your side is essential. At Leppard Law, we provide personalized legal services to help you navigate the complexities of DUI charges and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.

For additional resources and information on DUI charges, check out our articles on the difference between DUI and DWI in Florida and what to do after a DUI in Florida. If you have any questions or need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us at 407-476-4111.

Penalties for DUI in Florida

The penalties for DUI in Florida vary based on several factors, including the driver’s BAC level, whether there was an accident, and if there were any prior DUI convictions. Penalties can range from fines and license suspension to imprisonment and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. Understanding these penalties is crucial for anyone facing DUI charges.

Florida’s DUI laws impose severe consequences to deter impaired driving and ensure public safety. If you find yourself facing a DUI charge, it’s important to understand the potential penalties and how they can affect your life.

DUI Sobriety Test

First-Time DUI Penalties

For first-time offenders, the penalties can be substantial but are generally less severe than for repeat offenders. First-time DUI penalties in Florida include:

  • Fines: Ranging from $500 to $1,000. If your BAC was 0.15% or higher, or if a minor was in the vehicle, fines can increase to $2,000.
  • Imprisonment: Up to six months, which can increase to nine months if your BAC was 0.15% or higher, or if a minor was in the vehicle.
  • License Suspension: Minimum of 180 days to one year.
  • Community Service: Mandatory 50 hours or an additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.
  • Probation: Up to one year, with conditions such as attending DUI school and undergoing substance abuse evaluation and treatment.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Installation for six months if BAC was 0.15% or higher, or if a minor was in the vehicle.

What are the penalties for a first-time DUI in Florida? First-time DUI penalties include fines ranging from $500 to $2,000, imprisonment up to nine months, license suspension for up to one year, mandatory community service, probation, and possibly an ignition interlock device.

Second DUI Penalties

Repeat offenders face harsher penalties. For a second DUI conviction within five years of the first, penalties include:

  • Fines: Between $1,000 and $2,000. If BAC was 0.15% or higher, fines can increase to $4,000.
  • Imprisonment: Up to nine months. If within five years of the first DUI, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days, with 48 hours being consecutive.
  • License Suspension: Minimum of five years, with potential for hardship reinstatement after one year.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Mandatory installation for at least one year.

Understanding these penalties can help you prepare for the legal process and explore potential defenses. If you are facing a second DUI charge, consulting with an experienced DUI defense attorney is crucial to navigate the complexities of your case.

Third DUI Penalties

A third DUI conviction within 10 years of the previous offenses is classified as a third-degree felony in Florida. Penalties include:

  • Fines: Ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. If BAC was 0.15% or higher, fines can exceed $5,000.
  • Imprisonment: Up to five years, with a mandatory minimum of 30 days if within 10 years of the last DUI.
  • License Suspension: Minimum of 10 years, with potential for hardship reinstatement after two years.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Mandatory installation for at least two years.

What are the penalties for a third DUI in Florida? Penalties for a third DUI include fines ranging from $2,000 to over $5,000, imprisonment up to five years, a minimum 10-year license suspension, and mandatory ignition interlock device installation for at least two years.

Given the severe penalties, anyone facing a third DUI charge should immediately seek legal assistance. An experienced attorney can help challenge the evidence and potentially reduce the charges.

Aggravating Factors

Aggravating factors can significantly enhance DUI penalties. These factors include:

  • BAC of 0.15% or higher: Results in higher fines, longer imprisonment, and mandatory ignition interlock device installation.
  • Accidents: Causing property damage or personal injury can lead to additional charges and penalties.
  • Minor in the Vehicle: Having a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense results in enhanced penalties.

Understanding and addressing these aggravating factors is essential for a robust defense. For more information on DUI and DWI differences in Florida, visit our detailed guide.

What are DUI aggravating factors? Aggravating factors include a BAC of 0.15% or higher, causing an accident, and having a minor in the vehicle, which can lead to enhanced penalties such as higher fines and longer imprisonment.

At Leppard Law, our experienced attorneys understand the complexities of DUI cases and the impact of aggravating factors. We are dedicated to providing personalized legal strategies to help you achieve the best possible outcome. If you are facing DUI charges, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Call us at 407-476-4111 or visit our contact page to schedule an appointment.

For further reading on DUI penalties, check out our comprehensive guide on the Florida DUI Penalties and learn how different factors can influence the severity of the charges. Understanding the legal landscape can make a significant difference in how you approach your defense.

Defending Against DUI Charges

Defending against DUI charges in Florida requires a thorough understanding of the law and the ability to challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution. Common defenses include questioning the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of the breathalyzer test, and the proper administration of field sobriety tests. By scrutinizing every detail, a skilled DUI attorney can expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and help secure a more favorable outcome for the defendant.

Experienced DUI lawyers employ various legal strategies to defend their clients, such as filing motions to suppress evidence, negotiating plea deals, and representing clients in court. These strategies can help reduce or dismiss charges, potentially avoiding severe penalties. Let’s dive into some of the most effective legal strategies used in DUI defense.

1. Challenging the Legality of the Traffic Stop: If the initial stop was not based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause, any evidence gathered during the stop may be inadmissible in court. This can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case.

2. Questioning the Accuracy of Chemical Tests: Breathalyzers and other chemical tests are not infallible. Factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, and operator error can lead to inaccurate results. An experienced DUI attorney can scrutinize these aspects to challenge the validity of the test results.

3. Scrutinizing the Officer’s Observations and Procedures: The observations and procedures followed by the arresting officer are critical components of a DUI case. Any deviations from standard protocols or inconsistencies in the officer’s report can be used to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.

4. Presenting Alternative Explanations for Behavior: Certain medical conditions or other factors can mimic signs of impairment. For instance, fatigue, anxiety, or medical issues may affect an individual’s performance on field sobriety tests. Highlighting these factors can be pivotal in a DUI defense.

5. Filing Pre-Trial Motions: Motions such as motions to suppress can challenge the admissibility of evidence. If successful, these motions can prevent the prosecution from using certain pieces of evidence, which can lead to a dismissal or reduction of charges.

6. Negotiating Plea Deals: In some cases, negotiating a plea deal can be the best course of action. An experienced attorney can work with the prosecution to reduce the charges, such as amending a DUI charge to reckless driving, which carries less severe penalties.

Understanding APC in DUI Cases

Another critical aspect of defending DUI charges is understanding Actual Physical Control (APC). What is Actual Physical Control in DUI cases? Actual Physical Control refers to a situation where an individual has the ability to operate a vehicle, even if they are not actively driving it. This can include scenarios where a person is found sleeping in a parked car with the keys in the ignition.

What is Actual Physical Control in DUI cases? Actual Physical Control refers to a situation where an individual has the ability to operate a vehicle, even if they are not actively driving it.

APC can be a challenging aspect to defend against, but a knowledgeable DUI attorney can argue that the individual had no intention of driving or that the vehicle was inoperable. Understanding the nuances of APC can provide an additional layer of defense in DUI cases.

Having an attorney with extensive experience in DUI defense is invaluable. At Leppard Law, we focus exclusively on criminal defense and have a deep understanding of the complexities involved in DUI cases. Our attorneys are skilled in leveraging various legal strategies to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.

If you are facing DUI charges, don’t navigate the legal system alone. Contact us at 407-476-4111 to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Our team is here to provide the support and expertise you need to defend against DUI charges effectively.

For more information on DUI defenses, visit our Comprehensive Guide to DUI Defenses and learn about the various strategies that can be employed to fight DUI charges.


The Importance of Hiring a Florida DUI Lawyer

Facing a DUI charge in Florida can be overwhelming and stressful. The legal complexities and potential consequences make it crucial to have an experienced Florida DUI lawyer by your side. A skilled attorney provides valuable legal advice, represents you in court, and works tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome. DUI lawyers understand the intricacies of DUI laws and can navigate the legal system effectively.

Choosing the Right DUI Lawyer

When choosing a DUI lawyer, consider their experience, track record, and familiarity with local DUI laws. A reputable DUI lawyer will offer a free consultation to discuss your case and provide an overview of the potential legal options. At Leppard Law, we offer personalized services and treat our clients like family. We always put their best interests first and fight for the best possible outcome for their case.

Our attorneys have extensive experience handling DUI cases and have achieved numerous “not guilty” verdicts in both felony and misdemeanor DUI cases. We have conducted hundreds of contested formal review hearings and cross-examined officers, breath test operators, and agency inspectors. Our team has successfully litigated numerous motions to suppress and motions to dismiss DUI charges.

Why is hiring a DUI lawyer important? Hiring a DUI lawyer is crucial because they provide valuable legal advice, represent you in court, and work to achieve the best possible outcome by navigating the legal complexities of DUI laws.

For more information on DUI defenses, visit our Comprehensive Guide to DUI Defenses and learn about the various strategies that can be employed to fight DUI charges.

Criminal Lawyer Documents at Florida Courthouse

Understanding DUI Charges and Penalties

Understanding the potential penalties for DUI in Florida is essential. The penalties vary based on several factors, including the driver’s BAC level, whether there was an accident, and any prior DUI convictions. Penalties can range from fines and license suspension to imprisonment and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. Aggravating factors, such as having a BAC of 0.15% or higher, causing an accident, or having a minor in the vehicle, can lead to enhanced penalties.

For more information on the penalties for DUI in Florida, visit our Florida DUI Penalties Guide.

Protecting Your Driving Privileges

One of the first stages in a DUI case is protecting your driving privileges. After the arrest, the officer will take your driver’s license and issue a notice of suspension if you either blew over the legal limit of 0.08 or refused to take the requested breath, blood, or urine test. Your DUI citation operates as a notice of suspension, and you have ten days to decide how to protect your driving privileges.

During that ten-day period, you must decide between the following options:

  • Retain an attorney to demand a formal review hearing and obtain your 42-day permit so you can continue to drive without interruption.
  • Waive your right to contest the suspension and request immediate reinstatement (requires enrollment in DUI school and personal appearance at the Bureau of Administrative Review Office with proof of enrollment).
  • Do nothing and suffer the 30 or 90-day hard suspension, during which time you cannot drive for any reason (after that, you can request a “business purpose only” license for the rest of the suspension period).

Call us to find out why we ALWAYS recommend demanding the formal review hearing within that ten-day period. For more information on protecting your driving privileges, visit our Orlando BAR Guide.

Fighting DUI Charges in Court

After your arrest, the clerk’s office will schedule your first court date, called the “arraignment,” in front of the judge. For individuals who do not have an attorney, the court will read the charges and ask the person to enter a plea – either guilty, no contest, or not guilty. For DUI offenses, the court is not allowed to withhold adjudication. A guilty plea is essentially the same as a “no contest” plea, and a conviction means you can never seal or expunge that mug shot, arrest record, or court record of the conviction.

Entering a plea at arraignment is a bad idea because you cannot obtain a hardship license until after completing DUI school. You should request a public defender’s services if you cannot afford a private attorney. You can say, “I’d like to enter a plea of ‘NOT GUILTY’ and have an attorney help me with my case.”

Resolving your case without a criminal defense attorney is not a good idea. Before entering a plea, at a minimum, you should review all police reports and watch the video at the roadside or police station. You should always talk with a DUI lawyer about the evidence in your case before considering a plea to the charges. Prosecutors often reduce DUI to less serious charges such as reckless driving.

Your criminal defense attorney can always fight for a one or two-level (or more) reduction depending on the facts of the case. For a first DUI, contact us to learn more about the DUI Diversion Program in Hillsborough County called RIDR. The new diversion program might result in your first DUI being reduced to reckless driving with a withhold of adjudication. The withhold of adjudication means you can avoid a conviction. After resolving the case, you might be eligible to seal the criminal history record.

For more information on fighting DUI charges, visit our How to Win Your DUI Case page.

Why Choose Leppard Law?

At Leppard Law, we treat our clients like family. We always put their best interests first and fight for the best possible outcome for their case. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling DUI cases and have achieved numerous “not guilty” verdicts in both felony and misdemeanor DUI cases. We have conducted hundreds of contested formal review hearings and cross-examined officers, breath test operators, and agency inspectors. Our team has successfully litigated numerous motions to suppress and motions to dismiss DUI charges.

“Your Voice, Our Mission” – we champion your rights with the tenacity and dedication that has earned us the trust of our community members.

When you call our office, you can speak directly with an attorney on the phone, schedule a same-day Zoom meeting, or have a face-to-face consultation at our office. During the consultation, we can help you understand the best ways to protect your rights at every stage of the case.

If you are facing DUI charges, don’t navigate the legal system alone. Contact us at 407-476-4111 to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Our team is here to provide the support and expertise you need to defend against DUI charges effectively.

For more information on DUI legal representation, visit our Should I Get a Lawyer for a DUI in Florida page.


Infographic depicting the words Florida DUI Lawyers


What should I do immediately after a DUI arrest in Florida?

After a DUI arrest in Florida, it’s crucial to take immediate action. First, you should request a formal review hearing within ten days to protect your driving privileges. Next, contact a skilled DUI lawyer to discuss your case and potential defenses. It’s also important to gather all relevant documents and evidence, such as the police report and any witness statements.

After a DUI arrest in Florida, request a formal review hearing, contact a DUI lawyer, and gather relevant documents and evidence to protect your rights.

Can a DUI charge be reduced or dismissed in Florida?

Yes, a DUI charge can be reduced or dismissed in Florida. Experienced DUI lawyers can employ various legal strategies to challenge the evidence, such as questioning the accuracy of breathalyzer tests or the legality of the traffic stop. They may also negotiate plea deals with the prosecution to reduce the charges, potentially to reckless driving.

Yes, a DUI charge can be reduced or dismissed in Florida by challenging evidence or negotiating plea deals.

What are the penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Florida?

The penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Florida can include fines, probation, community service, and mandatory DUI school. Additionally, the offender’s driver’s license may be suspended for six months to a year. In some cases, the court may also require the installation of an ignition interlock device.

The penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Florida include fines, probation, community service, mandatory DUI school, and license suspension.

How can a DUI lawyer help with my case?

A DUI lawyer can provide valuable legal advice, represent you in court, and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. They understand the complexities of DUI laws and can navigate the legal system effectively. A skilled attorney can challenge the evidence, negotiate plea deals, and employ various legal strategies to defend against DUI charges.

A DUI lawyer can provide legal advice, represent you in court, challenge evidence, and negotiate plea deals to achieve the best outcome for your case.


Explore additional practice areas and related pages that our firm specializes in:

Beginner’s Guide to DUI in Florida Direct File Process for DUI Cases in Florida
Difference Between DUI and DWI in Florida DUI Uniform Traffic Citations in Florida
Actual Physical Control (APC) in Florida DUIs Florida’s .08 Per Se Standard for DUI
Blowing Over the Legal Limit but Not Drunk Should I Get a Lawyer for a DUI in Florida
What to Do After a DUI in Florida Step-by-Step Guide to the Florida DUI Legal Process
How Long Does the DUI Process Take in Florida I Just Got a DUI, What’s Next?
Most Common Questions About Florida DUIs Answered How to Win Your DUI Case
DUI Defense Guide Strengthen DUI Defense

Top-Rated DUI Lawyers Serving Florida

Looking for the best DUI lawyers in Florida? Our distinguished team of attorneys is committed to offering you the best possible defense against your DUI charges.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the Florida legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
  • Joe Easton: Renowned for crafting winning defenses, Joe Easton’s approach to legal advocacy in Florida combines thorough preparation with aggressive representation. His notable recognitions and ratings stand testament to his exceptional service and client-focused approach.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard infuses every DUI case with a level of personal commitment and innovative thinking that sets him apart. His leadership has not only grown Leppard Law into a top-rated criminal defense law firm but also ensured that clients receive empathetic, effective legal care.

Discover What Our Clients Are Saying

At the forefront of our DUI practice is a deep-seated commitment to client satisfaction. Each case is handled with utmost care, as echoed in the appreciative feedback from those we represent. Stellar reviews are what make us consistently one of Central Florida’s top-rated DUI law firms. You can read more 5-star reviews here.

Contact Us Today for Your Free Consultation

What does it look like to have a personal relationship with your attorney? Someone who has your back when things get tough? A lawyer that knows you as well as they know your case? At Leppard Law, we treat our clients like family. We always put their best interests first and fight for the best possible outcome for their case.

But you don’t have to take our word for it – experience it for yourself. If you or a loved one have been charged with a criminal offense, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call us at 407-476-4111.

Leppard Law has been honored as the “Best of Orlando” for Criminal and DUI Defense on Thumbtack and Yelp for six years in a row! We take immense pride in helping our clients navigate through some of life’s most challenging moments. Your trust and support have fueled our commitment to excellence, and we’re honored to be a part of our shared community.

While we hope you never face a criminal charge, we want you to know that if the need arises, we’re here for you. ONE call to our top-rated criminal defense attorneys can make all the difference. Schedule your consultation today, and let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.

Our experienced criminal lawyers provide our clients with the same resources available from the larger firms, but we’re known for our unique dedication to personal attention. With over 60 years of combined experience, our attorneys are renowned for both their trial advocacy and skillful negotiations, seeking to achieve the best results for their clients–including countless dismissals and reductions.

Rest easy and pick up the phone. We’re here to help! 407-476-4111

Recognized Excellence in DUI Defense

Don’t just take our word for it. Leppard Law has been recognized among the best in the industry. Here are some of the awards and recognitions we’ve received:

  • Highlighted among the “Top DUI Lawyers in Orlando, FL” for 2023 by Expertise
  • Listed among the “Top 10 DUI Attorneys near Kissimmee, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack
  • Named as one of the “Top DUI Attorneys near Apopka, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack
  • Recognized as one of the “Top 10 DUI Attorneys near Sarasota, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack
  • Featured in the “Top 10 Best DUI Law Near Brevard County, FL” for 2023 by Yelp

At Leppard Law, we combine legal expertise with a personal touch to provide unmatched defense for our clients. Contact us today to experience our award-winning service firsthand.

Trusted Content


Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Expert Florida DUI Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your DUI case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

Learn More About Joe Easton