Florida Felony DUI
A DUI of any kind is a serious charge in the state of Florida. While many DUIs are filed as misdemeanors, some may result in a felony charge. A felony carries with it increased penalties, including fines and jail time, plus other consequences that will follow you for the rest of your life.
Types of Felony DUIs
A felony DUI charge is a result of one of two sets of circumstances regarding your drunk driving incident: either you have prior DUI convictions or if your DUI resulted in an accident.
Florida has a five-year look back period for DUI offenses, however a third charge DUI within 10 years may result in a third-degree felony. A fourth lifetime DUI will also be charged as a felony.
If your DUI resulted in an accident that caused injury or death, your charge may be elevated to a felony. If the accident caused serious bodily harm, your charge will be a third-degree felony. If the accident resulted in the death of another person or an unborn child, your charge could be a DUI manslaughter charge, which may be a first- or second-degree felony.
Penalties for Felony DUI
The penalties for a felony DUI are considerably more strict than those imposed for amisdemeanor DUI charge. You may be facing up to five years in prison prison (as opposed to a jail sentence consistent with a misdemeanor) and fines upwards of $5,000. If your incident resulted in the death of another person, you will be charged with a second-degree felony that will result in a maximum fine of $10,000 and the possibility of a prison sentence of up to 15 years. If you fled the scene of an accident that resulted in death, you will be charged with a first degree penalty, punishable by $10,000 in fines and up to 30 years in prison.
After you have served out your sentence behind bars, finalized your probation and paid all of your fines, the long-lasting consequences of a felony charge continue. You will lose your right to vote and own firearms. You may also have trouble finding or keeping employment and rental housing.
Reducing Your Charges
If you have been arrested and charged with a felony DUI, hiring a qualified and experienced DUI defense attorney to represent you is a must. Your attorney may be able to have your charges reduced and will work to minimize the penalties you face.