What Are the Penalties for DUI in Florida?

What Are the Penalties for DUI in Florida?

“What are the penalties for DUI in Florida?” This is one of the common questions that Tampa DUI lawyers get every day. The short answer to this question is: it depends.

There are various mitigating and aggravating factors that can affect a plea bargain in a Tampa DUI case. First off, there are the bare minimum DUI penalties in Florida. However, prosecutors are not bound to recommend the minimums. In fact, they usually ask for more punishment.

As a client, the whole experience will feel like a punishment. There are business, career, or employment consequences, legal fees, and bail bonds to consider. On top of these, there’s the legal punishment. As a result, it comes as no surprise that some clients request their Tampa DUI attorneys to fight the charges to the Supreme Court.

Should You Hire a Tampa DUI Attorney?

Whether you want to get over the DUI charges as quickly or with as little punishment as possible, you need an attorney. When you are facing DUI charges, there are a series of things you should and must do. Moreover, there are some things you do not want to do, whether by mistake or due to unfamiliarity with the criminal court system.

First Offenders usually end up getting surprise jail terms and extra probation conditions when they opt to go to court without a skilled Tampa DUI attorney. Here are some reasons why:

  • The prosecutor will recommend the minimum sentences, additional punishment, conditions and burdensome requirements
  • The judges will also do the same thing
  • You are unable to defend yourself due to lack of knowledge of the legal proceedings. For example, you may not know the name of the types of court hearings, what they mean or what would happen
  • If there are aggravating factors in your case that you has not disclosed, you will be unprepared and have no mitigation evidence for your sentence hearing

Get Help from a Tampa DUI Lawyer

There are two main ways in which a criminal trial attorney can help you with a DUI case in Florida. These are: mitigation and litigation.


Litigation is a primary aspect of any DUI case and refers to the procedure of discovering legal defense based upon evidence discovering under Rule 3.220(b). The process slows down the case as the attorney gathers the evidence and tests the legal issues of seizures, illegal searches, improper stops, violation of rights, hearsay, motive, bias, reliability, relevance, admissibility, and other defensive issues. The procedure is done in a cost effective way.


This process involves the discovery of legally valid and compelling reasons for reduction of punishment, dismissal of counts, or reduction of charges made against you. The mitigation process is highly specialized and plays a critical role in ensuring you beat the charges or end up with a “slap on the wrist”.

Every DUI case is different. As a result, the litigation and mitigation procedures in your case may not be the same as that of another client.

What are the Penalties for DUI in Florida in Each County Courthouse?

Generally, the penalty you will receive for a DUI case in Tampa will mainly depend on the court where your case will be heard.

The four counties of the First Judicial Circuit have five courthouses. Below is an overview of how DUI cases are handled in the courthouses.

Escambia County

Escambia County is the worst county where you can get charged for a DUI. Cases in the county are riddled with pointless court appearance. Local people are required to attend proceedings while out of staters can use the legal methods to get an attorney to represent them in court.

Walton County

There is one division with two prosecutors and one judge that handle DUI cases in Walton County. While this is the smallest county in the circuit, it is also the most dangerous for DUI cases. For example, bumping a bumper or traffic cone without causing any damage can land you 10 days in the county jail, in addition to DUI probation.

Santa Rosa County

At present, all DUI cases in Santa Rosa County are held in Milton. The DUI cases in this county tend to be more detailed and complex than in most counties, even when the charges are substituted or reduced.

Okaloosa County

In Okaloosa, DUI cases are usually handled in the misdemeanors criminal traffic courts. One of the courts is in Crestview.

So, what are the penalties for DUI in Florida? The answer is: it will depend on your case.

The court and the prosecution will be thinking in terms of “minimum penalties plus”. Therefore, you need a Tampa DUI lawyer that will help you to achieve the “minimum penalties minus”, and settle your DUI case without a trial.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.