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Third DUI in Florida Penalties Guide



Third DUI in Florida Explained

A third DUI in Florida is a serious offense that can significantly impact your life. Understanding the legal implications and the elements of this crime is crucial for anyone facing such charges.

In Florida, a third DUI is defined as operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs for the third time. The key elements include:

  • Operating a vehicle
  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Having two prior DUI convictions

The severity of the charges depends on whether the third DUI occurred within ten years of any prior DUI conviction.

What is a third DUI in Florida? A third DUI in Florida is defined as operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs for the third time, with two prior DUI convictions on your record.

If the third DUI offense occurs within ten years of any prior DUI conviction, it can be charged as a felony. According to DHSMV Bulletin #001/2005, the ten-year revocation is triggered when the third DUI offense date is within ten years from any previous conviction date. This means that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will impose a ten-year revocation of your driver’s license, regardless of whether the court imposes it.

It is important to note that not all DUI arrests will result in a conviction. Avoiding a conviction can save you thousands of dollars from both direct and indirect consequences. You only have ten days after your arrest to demand a formal review hearing to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. This formal review hearing is one of the most important parts of your case.

The 10-day rule for demanding a formal review hearing is crucial. You must act quickly to hire an attorney to demand your formal review hearing and help you obtain a 42-day permit so you can continue driving for hardship reasons while your criminal defense attorney fights the case.

In some cases, the prosecutor may have a difficult time using prior pleas for purposes of charging you with a felony DUI offense, especially if the prior convictions are old or occurred out of state. The prosecutor might also be reluctant to file the third DUI as a felony if obtaining certified records of the prior convictions is challenging.

Ultimately, the court will impose a ten-year driver’s license suspension if you are convicted of DUI offenses on three separate occasions, with the latest offense occurring within ten years of the prior conviction. Florida statutes do not require an in-state DUI conviction to impose a ten-year revocation of driving privileges if a driver has had three convictions for DUI within a ten-year period.

Is the third DUI a felony or a misdemeanor? In Florida, a third DUI can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances and the timing of prior convictions.

Therefore, it is particularly important to hire an attorney as quickly as possible after the arrest to navigate these complexities and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

For more detailed information on the penalties and legal nuances of a third DUI, you can explore our comprehensive guide on third DUI penalties in Florida.

Penalties for Third DUI in Florida

The penalties for a third DUI in Florida can be severe, especially if the offense occurs within ten years of a prior conviction.

Flashing police lights indicating penalties for Third DUI in Florida Penalties Guide

Within Ten Years

If the third DUI occurs within ten years of any prior DUI, the penalties may include:

  • Jail Time: Minimum of 30 days, with at least 48 hours served consecutively
  • Fines: Between $2,000 and $5,000
  • Vehicle Impoundment: 90 days
  • Driver’s License Revocation: 10 years
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device: 24 months
  • DUI School and Substance Abuse Evaluation: Required

Let’s break down each of these penalties to understand what they entail:

What are the penalties for a third DUI within ten years in Florida? The penalties include a minimum of 30 days in jail, fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, 90 days of vehicle impoundment, a 10-year driver’s license revocation, a mandatory ignition interlock device for 24 months, and completion of DUI school and a substance abuse evaluation.

Jail Time

A conviction for a third DUI within ten years mandates a minimum of 30 days in jail, with at least 48 hours served consecutively. The court may impose up to 364 days in jail depending on the circumstances of the case. This jail time can disrupt your personal and professional life, making it crucial to have a strong defense to potentially reduce or avoid incarceration.

Fines

The fines for a third DUI within ten years range from $2,000 to $5,000. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) was .15 or higher, or if a minor was in the vehicle, the minimum fine increases to $4,000. These substantial fines can place a significant financial burden on you, affecting your ability to meet other financial obligations.

Vehicle Impoundment

Your vehicle will be impounded for 90 days following a third DUI conviction. This means you will be without your primary mode of transportation for three months, which can severely impact your daily life, including commuting to work, school, or other essential activities.

Driver’s License Revocation

A third DUI within ten years results in a 10-year revocation of your driver’s license. You will not be eligible for a hardship reinstatement for at least the first two years. This long-term revocation can make it challenging to maintain employment, attend school, or fulfill family responsibilities.

For more detailed information on the penalties and legal nuances of a third DUI within ten years, you can explore our comprehensive guide on penalties for third DUI within 10 years in Florida.

Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device

Following a third DUI conviction, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle for 24 months. This device requires you to provide a breath sample before starting your vehicle, ensuring that you are not under the influence of alcohol. The cost of installing and maintaining the IID is your responsibility, adding to the financial burden of a DUI conviction.

DUI School and Substance Abuse Evaluation

Completion of DUI school and a substance abuse evaluation is mandatory for anyone convicted of a third DUI within ten years. The evaluation will determine if you need further treatment for substance abuse, which can include counseling or rehabilitation programs. These requirements aim to address any underlying issues with alcohol or drug use and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

Understanding the severity of these penalties highlights the importance of seeking legal representation. A knowledgeable attorney can help navigate the complexities of DUI law, challenge the evidence against you, and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.

For those facing a third DUI outside of ten years, the penalties are different. Learn more about the penalties for third DUI outside 10 years in Florida.

Examples of Third DUI in Florida

To better understand the implications of a third DUI, here are some hypothetical examples:

Example 1: Within Ten Years

John was convicted of his third DUI within eight years of his second DUI. He faces felony charges, a minimum of 30 days in jail, and a 10-year driver’s license revocation. This scenario falls under the stricter category of a third DUI within ten years, resulting in severe penalties. The court has no discretion in imposing these penalties, which include:

  • Felony Charges: Third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Jail Time: Mandatory minimum of 30 days, with at least 48 hours served consecutively.
  • Driver’s License Revocation: 10 years, with no eligibility for hardship reinstatement for at least the first two years.
  • Vehicle Impoundment: 90 days.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Required for 24 months.
  • DUI School and Substance Abuse Evaluation: Mandatory completion.

John’s case demonstrates the harsh reality of a third DUI within ten years. The penalties are designed to be stringent, reflecting the seriousness of repeated DUI offenses. For more detailed information on the penalties, you can refer to our guide on third DUI within ten years in Florida.

Example 2: Outside Ten Years

Mary’s third DUI occurred 12 years after her second DUI. She is charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, facing up to 12 months in jail and a two-year ignition interlock device requirement. In this scenario, the penalties are less severe compared to a third DUI within ten years, but they still carry significant consequences. The specific penalties include:

  • Misdemeanor Charges: First-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Jail Time: Up to 12 months, with the possibility of probation.
  • Driver’s License Revocation: Typically shorter than 10 years, depending on the specific circumstances.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Required for 24 months.
  • DUI School and Substance Abuse Evaluation: Mandatory completion.

Mary’s case highlights the differences in penalties when a third DUI occurs outside the ten-year window. While still serious, the consequences are somewhat more lenient. For further details, check out our guide on third DUI outside ten years in Florida.

What is the difference between a third DUI within ten years and outside ten years in Florida? A third DUI within ten years is typically charged as a felony with severe penalties, including a 10-year license revocation. A third DUI outside ten years is usually a misdemeanor with less severe penalties but still significant consequences.

Understanding these examples can help you grasp the gravity of a third DUI charge in Florida. The legal system takes repeated offenses very seriously, and the penalties reflect this stance. If you find yourself facing a third DUI charge, it’s crucial to seek legal representation immediately. An experienced attorney can help navigate the complexities of DUI law, challenge the evidence against you, and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.

For more information on the classification of a third DUI as a felony or misdemeanor, you can explore our detailed article on whether a third DUI is a felony or misdemeanor in Florida.

Each DUI case is unique, and the circumstances surrounding the arrest can significantly impact the outcome. It’s essential to act quickly, especially considering the 10-day rule for demanding a formal review hearing to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. Hiring an attorney promptly can make a significant difference in your case.


Defenses for Third DUI in Florida

Facing a third DUI charge in Florida can be daunting, but there are several defenses that a skilled attorney can employ. Understanding these defenses can significantly impact the outcome of your case and potentially reduce the severity of the penalties you face.

Third DUI in Florida Penalties Guide

Common Defenses

Some common defenses include:

  • 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.
  • Questioning the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood test results: 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.
  • Arguing procedural errors during the arrest: 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.
  • Presenting evidence of improper handling of evidence: The chain of custody for blood or urine samples must be meticulously documented. Any lapses in this chain can render the evidence inadmissible.

What are common defenses for a third DUI in Florida? Common defenses for a third DUI in Florida include challenging the legality of the traffic stop, questioning the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood test results, arguing procedural errors during the arrest, and presenting evidence of improper handling of evidence.

Challenging the Legality of the Traffic Stop

The foundation of many DUI cases is the traffic stop. If the stop was conducted without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, any evidence obtained as a result may be suppressed. This can include observations of impairment, breathalyzer results, and field sobriety test results. A skilled attorney will thoroughly examine the circumstances of the stop to identify any potential violations of your rights.

For more detailed information on this defense, you can refer to our article on defending your rights in unlawful DUI traffic stops.

Questioning the Accuracy of Chemical Tests

Breathalyzers, blood tests, and urine tests are commonly used to measure blood alcohol content (BAC). However, these tests are not foolproof. Factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, and operator error can lead to inaccurate results. Additionally, certain medical conditions and medications can affect BAC readings. An experienced attorney will scrutinize the testing process and equipment to identify any potential issues that could invalidate the results.

Learn more about the intricacies of breathalyzer accuracy in our guide to calibration and maintenance of breathalyzers.

Arguing Procedural Errors During the Arrest

The arresting officer’s observations and procedures 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. This can include errors in administering field sobriety tests, improper Miranda warnings, or failure to follow proper arrest procedures.

For more on how officers’ observations can be scrutinized, check out our article on officers mistaking medical issues for signs of impairment.

Presenting Evidence of Improper Handling of Evidence

The chain of custody for blood or urine samples must be meticulously documented. Any lapses in this chain can render the evidence inadmissible. This includes ensuring that samples are properly labeled, stored, and transported. Any discrepancies in the handling of evidence can be used to challenge its validity.

Understanding the importance of proper evidence handling is crucial. For more insights, refer to our comprehensive guide on evidence handling in DUI cases.

Each case is unique, and a thorough review of the circumstances surrounding the arrest is essential for building a strong defense. At Leppard Law, our experienced attorneys are dedicated to providing personalized legal representation to help you navigate the complexities of your case. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 to discuss your options and begin building your defense.


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What happens if you get a third DUI in Florida?

If you get a third DUI in Florida, the penalties can be severe, especially if the offense occurs within ten years of a prior conviction. Penalties may include:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Driver’s license revocation
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device installation

Is a third DUI a felony or misdemeanor in Florida?

A third DUI in Florida can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If the third DUI occurs within ten years of a prior conviction, it is typically charged as a felony. If it occurs outside of ten years, it may be charged as a misdemeanor.

How long will my driver’s license be revoked for a third DUI in Florida?

For a third DUI conviction within ten years of a prior DUI, your driver’s license will be revoked for a minimum of ten years. During this period, you may not be eligible for a hardship reinstatement for at least the first two years.

Can I avoid jail time for a third DUI in Florida?

Avoiding jail time for a third DUI in Florida is challenging but possible with a strong defense strategy. Factors such as challenging the legality of the traffic stop, questioning the accuracy of chemical tests, and identifying procedural errors can play a crucial role in your defense.

For more detailed information on third DUI penalties, visit our Third DUI in Florida Within 10 Years guide. If you need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Leppard Law at 407-476-4111. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate the complexities of your case.


Explore additional areas of practice that we specialize in, closely related to DUI cases:

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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 one of Central Florida’s top-rated DUI law firms. This is just a portion of our hundreds of 5-star reviews on Facebook, Google, Thumbtack, Yelp, and more. You can read more 5-star reviews here.








Take the Next Step with Leppard Law

Facing a DUI charge can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to navigate this alone. At Leppard Law, we treat our clients like family, always putting your best interests first and fighting for the best possible outcome for your case. Our experienced attorneys are renowned for their legal skills and client-focused approach. We understand the stress and anxiety that come with criminal charges, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

But don’t just take our word for it. Experience our dedicated and compassionate legal representation for yourself. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI or any criminal offense, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Call us now at 407-476-4111 and let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.

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Our commitment to excellence has earned us numerous accolades. Here are some of the awards and recognitions that highlight our dedication to our clients:

  • Highlighted among the “Top DUI Attorneys near Orlando, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack
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  • Recognized as the “Best DUI Lawyers in Deltona” for 2023 by Expertise
  • Listed among the “Top DUI Attorneys near Apopka, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack
  • Ranked as one of the “Top DUI Attorneys near New Smyrna Beach, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack

At Leppard Law, our accolades are a testament to our unwavering commitment to providing exceptional legal services. Don’t wait—reach out to us today and take the first step towards a strong defense. We’re here to help!

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Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Experienced 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.

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