Criminal Defense LawyerLakeland, Tampa, Lutz, FL
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Third DUI Offenses

When you’re facing extreme penalties, you need experienced legal representation

Florida’s penalties for DUI charges are harsh, and when you’re up to your third offense, they get even harsher. Depending on the situation, you might be facing felony charges, imprisonment, and long-term loss of your driving privilege. Your entire future is at stake in this situation, and you can’t afford to go it alone.

Get an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side right away. I have the experience to take on tough charges and find your path forward.

What counts as a “third offense” in Florida?

Florida will treat your DUI as a third offense if you have any two prior convictions for a drunk driving or impaired driving offense, even if those prior offenses were out of state.

Certain types of enhanced sentencing apply if you have any two prior offenses, even if they were many years ago. However, the most severe consequences apply if your third DUI is within 10 years of any previous DUI. Note that this 10-year window starts at the date of the most recent previous conviction, but it’s the date of the third offense that must fall within it. So for example, if you have a DUI in 1990, 2012, and 2021, that 2021 DUI is a 3rd within 10 years.

Is a third DUI a misdemeanor or a felony in Florida?

It depends on when your previous DUI convictions were. If any of your prior DUI convictions were within the past 10 years, then your third DUI can be charged as a third-degree felony. If all your previous convictions were more than 10 years ago, then it’s a first-degree misdemeanor. The prosecutor  decides whether to file the case as a misdemeanor or felony. A DUI lawyer can call the prosecutor and argue that the charge should not be a felony if you hire me fast enough.

What are the penalties for a third DUI in Florida?

The penalties for a third DUI conviction vary depending on whether your second DUI was within the previous 10 years, but either way, they are significant.

Jail time

A third DUI offense carries a minimum jail sentence of 30 days. If your second DUI was within 10 years, you can be sentenced to up to five years in jail; if more than 10 years have passed since your previous conviction, the maximum sentence is 12 months.

Fines

For a third DUI within 10 years of the previous offense, you can be fined $2,000 to $5,000. Otherwise, the fine is the same as a first offense, $500 to $1000.

Probation

Florida judges are required to add probation to any sentence for a third DUI conviction.

Ignition interlock device

You will be required to install an ignition interlock device for at least two years after your driving privilege is restored.

Vehicle impoundment

If your third offense is within 10 years of the previous offense, your vehicle must be impounded for 90 days.

Driver’s license revocation

For a third conviction within 10 years, your driver’s license will be revoked for 10 years, and you will not be eligible to receive a hardship license for at least the first two years. Note that the DMV makes this decision separately from the prosecutor’s decision to charge the DUI as a felony or misdemeanor.

Additional penalties

As with any DUI conviction, additional penalties may apply if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at least .15, or if you had a passenger under 18 in the car.

Fight back against your third DUI charge with the right attorney

Fighting a third DUI charge is difficult. The jury starts off biased against you, and especially in Polk County, the prosecution will likely push to make an example of you. Nevertheless, you have legal rights, and an experienced DUI defense attorney can protect them.

Defending a third DUI offense may involve questioning whether the officer had reasonable suspicion to pull you over or probable cause to suspect a DUI, pointing out inconsistencies in statements, or pointing out problems with the breathalyzer or chain of custody of blood tests. It may be possible to suppress evidence and force the prosecution to drop the charges when they don’t have enough to convict. Either way, the goal is the same: to get your DUI charge dismissed or fight for a not guilty verdict at trial.

In addition, you need legal representation during the Formal Review process to get your driver’s license reinstated or the process to request a hardship license. With experience on your side, you can fight for a better future and a better outcome in your case.

Again, the clock is ticking. You have just 10 days to request a formal review of your license suspension, and the prosecutor decides how to charge your DUI. The sooner you get a DUI defense lawyer on your side, the better. Call 863-688-4606 or use the online contact form to discuss your situation with an attorney who knows how to win.

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