3 Strikes and You're Out? What Happens After a 3rd DUI in Florida

Apr 12, 2019

If you’re facing DUI charges in Florida for the third time the fact is you are going to need a very good lawyer to present your case. 

There may well be some technicalities that go in your favor, such as if you have not had your Miranda rights read to you

However, the laws for a 3rd DUI are very strict in Flordia as this is the third time you’ve committed the same offense.

If you or your loved ones are facing charges for a 3rd DUI in Flordia here is what you need to know about what the law says.

How is a DUI Defined in Flordia Law?

Drinking under the influence is determined in Flordia State Law as ‘driving or being under actual physical control of a vehicle’ and that person is ‘under the influence of alcoholic beverages’ and ‘any chemical substance… when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired..’

Flordia State Law defines the substances that are banned by their chemical name and goes further by stating that ‘any similar substance for the purpose of inducing a condition of intoxication or which distorts or disturbs the auditory, visual, or mental processes…’ cannot be taken while driving 

Of course, the most common intoxicating substance and the one for which most people fall foul of the law is of course ethanol, the chemical name for alcohol. 

Legal Limits

But small doses of alcohol can be found in some food and drinks and there is a safe level of alcohol which does not affect you. The law makes allowances for that.

In Flordia, you can have  0.2% of blood alcohol content in your system if you are under 21 and 0.8% if you are over 21. 

blood alcohol level reveals how much alcohol there is to blood. So a 0.1% blood alcohol level shows that you have 1 part alcohol for every 1,000 parts of blood. 

Your blood alcohol content can vary depending on a number of factors and depends on your metabolism. As a result, it can be difficult to determine how many or what drinks equate to being over the limit but there are some general guidelines based on weight.

1 drink is defined as 1.5 ounces of spirits (tequila, whiskey, etc) at 40% strength, 12 ounces of beer at a 5% strength or 5 ounces of wine at 12% strength.

Someone who weighs only 100 pounds and is over the age of 21 can consume just 2 drinks before they are over the limit whereas someone who weighs 160 pounds can consume 3 drinks. A person weighing 240 pounds can drink 5 before they over the limit. 

Those under the age of 21 who drink are breaking the law, regardless, but are further breaking the law if they weigh 100 pounds and drink and drive with just one drink. 

The Penalties for a 3rd DUI in Flordia

The criminal sanctions for being arrested for drinking under the influence are tough if you are caught. 

The penalties vary depending on whether your last offense was committed in the last ten years. 

Within Ten Years of a 2nd DUI

If your 2nd DUI offense was within the last ten years then your 3rd DUI will be classed as a third-degree felony and there is a mandatory prison sentence of at least 30 days.

The reality is though you could be looking at spending a lot longer in prison. The maximum sentence is 5 years. You will also have your driving license revoked for at least 10 years. When you do become eligible for a driving license once again you will have to have a breathalyzer or ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.

This will prevent you from even starting the car if you are over the legal limit. Your vehicle could also be impounded for 90 days. The impoundment cannot begin whilst you are serving time in jail. 

After Ten Years of a 2nd DUI

If you’re 2nd DUI took place over ten years ago then you will be given a lesser sentence. It will be treated as a first-degree misdemeanor rather than a felony and there will be no mandatory jail time. 

Having said this the sentence guidelines are up to 12 months in prison so whether you get a sentence at all will depend on your judge and any mitigating circumstances. 

There is a fine of between $1,000 and $2,500 and a breathalyzer interlock device will also be installed in your car once you become eligible for a drivers license once again. 

Hardship Reinstatement 

Although the ten-year ban on a license is usually enforced, there are times when the state will make an exception. A hardship license provides for those that need a car to earn money.

After two years following the conviction of a 3rd DUI that took place within ten years of a previous DUI, you can apply for a new license. Those applying must not have driven a car or consumed any alcohol for two years. 

There is also a special DUI school that those applying for a hardship license must attend regularly whilst also remaining under the control of a DUI supervision program. 

3rd DUIs Can Be a Tricky Situation – Get a Lawyer

No criminal judge is going to look favorably on somebody who has committed the same offense three times unless there are some very good reasons. There is a very real chance that without a good lawyer you could end up in jail for a 3rd DUI in Flordia and you will almost certainly lose your drivers license for the foreseeable future. 

However, if you or a loved one has have fallen foul of the law don’t despair. Our expert legal service can help you out and ensure you get a fair trial and stand the best chance of getting a reduced sentence. Click here to contact us and get a free consultation today.