Written by attorney David Ashley Haenel

What are the penalties for a DUI in Sarasota?

In Sarasota, if you are charged with a DUI and you are a first-time offender, you will be required to pay fines, court costs, and incur a license suspension. In some cases jail time, probation, and/or community service is also required. Each additional offense carries harsher penalties for the offender including attending a mandatory DUI school, loss of their license for a year, use of a vehicle interlock device, vehicle impoundment, and higher fines.

What Are Each of the Penalties, Their Time Periods, and Their Costs?

If this is the driver's first offense, then they could encounter the following penalties and fees:

  • Up to 50 hours of community service.
  • At least one year of probation.
  • Fines ranging between $250 and $500.
  • A minimum of six months in jail.
  • At least nine months in jail if a minor is present or if the BAL is at or greater than .08.
  • License suspension for between six and twelve months.
  • At least twelve hours of DUI School.

How can a DUI Attorney Reduce Penalties?

It's possible that the driver's attorney can have DUI charges reduced to reckless driving. The basis of this charge reduction request is focused on the circumstances of the traffic stop, the results of the driver's field sobriety test, how well the breath test machine was operating, and if all the testing the driver submitted to was done lawfully and correctly. There are a number of other circumstances that could lead to the reduction of charges and they are dependent on the evidence the attorney gathers.

What if This is a Second Offense?

If this is the driver's second offense, the case becomes more challenging to handle. It is not impossible to fight a second offense, though. Some of the penalties the driver could face if convicted are:

  • No more than 270 days in jail.
  • Fines ranging between $500 and $1,000.
  • License suspension for between six and twelve months.
  • Up to one year of probation.
  • Vehicle immobilization for up to ten days.
  • DUI School
  • An interlock device installed in the driver's car for one year.

The driver's DUI defense attorney will work just as diligently with repeat offenders as they do first-time offenders. In addition to gathering the evidence necessary to build a strong defense, they will continue to counsel the driver of their rights and responsibilities. For example, it is the driver's responsibility to show up to all scheduled meetings, conferences, and court dates. Failure to meet these responsibilities could put the case in jeopardy, especially if the driver is a repeat offender.

How Do These Penalties Impact the Driver's Long-Term Record?

If the charges are not reduced by the driver's DUI attorney, then they face numerous long-term consequences with their driving record. They must keep in mind that once a DUI conviction is on their driving record, it cannot be expunged or erased. Therefore, some of the long-term consequences could include:

  • An increase in insurance premiums.
  • Loss of a job or the inability to secure future employment.
  • Issues with school or educational facilities including expulsion.
  • Problems with the driver's reputation within their career or social circles.

Additional resources provided by the author

Finebloom & Haenel, P.A. 200 North Washington Blvd. Sarasota, Fl 34236 (941) 953-2622

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