Florida DUI Laws

Florida penalizes impaired drivers with tough fines, jail terms, driver’s license revocations, and more.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Edited by R.E. Fulton
, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcoholic, controlled, or chemical substances is considered a misdemeanor or felony.
are punishable by fines, imprisonment, vehicle impoundment, driver’s license revocations, and more.
  • In Florida, driving impaired or with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher while in “actual physical control of a vehicle” is a DUI.
  • At best, a first-time DUI could result in a misdemeanor charge, a $500 fine, a driver’s license revocation of 180 days, and DUI school.
  • At worst, a DUI conviction could result in a felony charge, a $10,000 fine, 15 years in prison, and a permanent driver’s license revocation.
  • A DUI conviction will mark your Florida driving record and raise your
    car insurance
    rates, especially if you’re required to file FR-44 or SR-22 insurance.

A BAL of 0.08% or higher is considered a DUI in Florida

Driving under the influence of chemicals, controlled substances, or a Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) of 0.08% or more is illegal in Florida.
If a police officer has probable cause to believe that you don’t have your normal faculties, they can ask you to pull over and submit to a field sobriety test, a portable blood test, or a breathalyzer test.
Refusing the tests or providing a positive result may lead to arrest, detainment, and further testing. At the end of it all, your driver’s license will be confiscated and you’ll receive a notice of suspension and a temporary 10-day permit.

Florida’s DUI penalties include fines, imprisonment, and a driver’s license revocation

If your test results indicate a BAL of 0.08 or greater, your
driver’s license will be automatically suspended
for six months.
You can fight an unlawful suspension by requesting a review within 10 days of receiving notice of suspension.
Next comes bail, arraignment, pre-trial, trial, and sentencing. Your first DUI conviction could result in:
  • A permanent criminal record and misdemeanor charge
  • A fine of $500-$1,000
  • Imprisonment for up to six months
  • A vehicle impoundment of 10 days
  • A driver’s license revocation of 180 days to one year
No matter the length of your license revocation, you’ll have to wait 30 days to apply for a
Florida restricted hardship license
that will allow you to drive to work.
  Alternatively, you can wait for the revocation period to end before applying for an unrestricted
Florida driver’s license reinstatement

Florida DUI penalties increase with prior convictions

The state of Florida increases the penalties for second, third, and fourth DUI cases.
Second DUI
Third DUI
Fourth DUI
Immediate license suspension
One year
One year
One year
Misdemeanor (if the third offense is more than 10 years from the second offense) OR
Third-degree felony (if the third offense is committed within 10 years of the second offense)
Third-degree felony
At least $2,000
10 days to nine months
30 days to 12 months
Maximum five years
30 days
90 days
90 days
License revocation
Five years (eligible for a hardship license after one year)
10 years (eligible for a hardship license after two years)
Permanent (eligible for a hardship license after five years)
Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
Six months
DUI school
Restricted hardship license requirements
One year without driving, one year of sobriety, DUI school, DUI supervision program, IID for one year, and letters of recommendation
Two years without driving, one year of sobriety, DUI school, DUI supervision program, IID for two years, and letters of recommendation
Five years without driving, five years of sobriety, five years without a drug-related arrest, DUI school, DUI supervision program, IID for at least two years, and letters of recommendation

Aggravated DUI charges will double your fines

The Florida Statutes define an “aggravated DUI” as driving impaired with an underage passenger or a BAL of  0.15% or higher. Whether it’s your first or fourth DUI offense, an aggravated judgment doubles the maximum fines, extends the maximum prison terms by three months, and lengthens the amount of time you must have an IID installed.

BAL limits are stricter for minor and underage drivers

Motorists under the age of 21 who drive impaired or with a BAL of 0.02% or more are guilty of a DUI in Florida.
If you’re under 18, the arresting law enforcement officer might even take you directly to the county addictions receiving facility.
As above, you can be stopped, tested, and your license confiscated. Here are the special conditions for underage DUI drivers:
  • Underage drivers receive a temporary permit that only becomes valid 12 hours after their arrest, but it still lasts for 10 days.
  • A blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% or more will result in an immediate six-month driver’s license suspension. Score 0.05% or more and it’ll increase to a year (even if it’s your first offense) and you’ll have to complete a substance abuse evaluation and course to lift it.
  • If you’re 19 years of age or less, your parents or guardian will be notified of the results of your evaluation.
  • You must wait a minimum of 30 days, complete DUI school, and take a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course to qualify for a hardship license.

Property damages, personal injuries, serious bodily injuries, or death will result in felony and misdemeanor charges

Depending on the consequences, you could face additional penalties for causing a DUI car accident.
Collision resulting in personal injury or property damages
Collision resulting in serious bodily injury
Collision resulting in death
First-degree misdemeanor
Third-degree felony
DUI manslaughter (second-degree felony)
Up to $1,000
Up to $5,000
Up to $10,000
Up to one year
Up to five years
Up to 15 years
License revocation
See the regular penalty table above
At least three years
Hours of community service
120 hours
120 hours
Driver improvement course
Unless you have zero prior convictions relating to drunk driving, causing a car accident that results in death makes you ineligible for a hardship license. If it’s your first DUI offense, you can apply for one by following the same guidelines as a driver with four DUIs.

BAL limits are stricter for commercial drivers

Anyone who operates a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) while impaired or with a BAL of 0.04% will have their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) disqualified for one year.
In addition, refusing a test will disqualify you for one year, transporting hazardous materials will disqualify you for three, and a second conviction (or refusal) could disqualify you for life.
You cannot reinstate your CDL by arguing a hardship DUI defense. You must surrender it to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), which will give you a full Class E driver’s license in exchange for free. If you’d like to get it back after your disqualification ends, you’ll need to pay a $75 fee (if it’s still valid) or re-apply and qualify for a new one (if it’s expired).

A Florida DUI requires FR-44 insurance

FR-44 insurance
isn’t really insurance—it’s a certificate your car insurance provider files directly with the DMV asserting that you’ve bought a policy. Any driver who commits a DUI in Florida is required to maintain an FR-44 for at least three years.
In addition to a yearly filing fee of $15-$25, FR-44 insurance requires:
After three years, the premiums associated with FR-44 insurance can rival the cost of your fines and a DUI lawyer—but
can help. We’ll show you personalized
car insurance quotes
from providers who specialize in helping high-risk drivers. 


With fines, jail time, vehicle impoundment, and license suspensions and revocations, Florida's DUI laws are among the toughest in the country. It may be justified given the fact
the Sunshine State has an above-average death rate for motorists under the influence of alcohol
Even if it’s your first conviction, a jury could charge you with a third-degree felony if your DUI causes serious bodily injury or a second-degree felony if it causes death. If you have three prior DUIs, getting arrested a fourth time counts also as a third-degree felony.
Refusing a urine, blood, or breath test violates Florida’s implied consent law. Your first refusal will automatically result in a one-year suspension of your driver's license, and two or more refusals will result in an 18-month suspension and a first-degree misdemeanor.
If a police officer confiscates your driver's license for impairment, they'll give you a temporary permit that allows you to drive for 10 days. Note that you must still obey all of Florida’s regular traffic laws while driving with a permit.
You’re guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor if you refuse a police officer's request to test your BAL (also known as Blood Alcohol Content or BAC). However, Florida motorists are allowed to avoid a DUI checkpoint as long as they don’t break the law in doing so (such as by making an illegal U-turn).


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