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Is a DUI a first degree misdemeanor in the state of Florida?

Inverness, FL |

What are the laws in the state of Florida concerning a First Degree Misdemeanor? Would a DUI count as a first degree misdemeanor?

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Attorney answers 4


Only if you damage the property or person of another. A misd in the 2st degree is punishable for up to 1 year in jail. A first time DUI with no damage to property or person has a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail.

Relevant section of statute pasted below.

§ 316.193. Driving under the influence; penalties

(1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:

(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired;

(b) The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or

(c) The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

(2) (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), subsection (3), or subsection (4), any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) shall be punished:

1. By a fine of:

a. Not less than $ 500 or more than $ 1,000 for a first conviction.

b. Not less than $ 1,000 or more than $ 2,000 for a second conviction; and

2. By imprisonment for:

a. Not more than 6 months for a first conviction.

b. Not more than 9 months for a second conviction.

(3) Any person:

(a) Who is in violation of subsection (1);

(b) Who operates a vehicle; and

(c) Who, by reason of such operation, causes or contributes to causing:

1. Damage to the property or person of another commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.


just notice typo - i meant to type 1st degree - A misd in the 1st degree is punishable for up to 1 year in jail. -


By case law, a first time DUI in the state of Florida is considered a first degree misdemeanor, even though (assuming no accident) it is a maximum of 6 months jail. I know of no other misdemeanor of any degree that is treated that way. So DUI is unique in Florida law for that reason.

Craig A. Epifanio

Craig A. Epifanio


I must correct my answer and apologize if this caused any confusion as it is still a confusing statute to this day. In short, a first time DUI is a SECOND degree Misdemeanor, but the amount of jail time I wrote is accurate. It can be enhanced to up to 9 months jail if you have one prior, or if you blow or have blood above a .15. Also to add to the confusion, it is a FIRST degree misdemeanor, even for a first offense, if it involved an accident.


Mr. Epifanio makes a valid observation.

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