Florida, like every state, does everything it can to deter people from getting behind the wheel after drinking. Those accused of driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida face a number of criminal and civil penalties that will vary depending on the circumstances of the offense. If a driver causes a crash with injuries or property damage, the penalties could be higher. The same is true for those who have previous convictions for the same offense on their records.
Whether you’re dealing with your first DUI or your third, you need to understand the ways in which these charges could impact your life. Other than jail time and fines, one of the biggest issues related to DUI convictions is the loss of driving privileges. In general, those facing DUI charges will also have to deal with the loss of their licenses from six months to the rest of their lives. That can wreak serious havoc with your future.
How losing your license can affect your daily life
You may think that pleading guilty to a DUI charge is the fastest, best option available. You avoid the public embarrassment of a trial, while hopefully negotiating lesser charges or reduced penalties as part of your plea. However, the courts will still revoke your driver’s license.
Without a license, you will have to depend on others for rides by carpooling, hailing ride-sharing services or taxis or using public transportation. Taxis and ride-share services are expensive when used on a daily basis, while public transportation or bumming rides from other drivers could result in chronic tardiness for work and other appointments. Even if your employer doesn’t penalize you for a DUI conviction, you could face disciplinary actions and even loss of your job for having trouble with transportation.
Your children likely rely on you to get them to and from school or doctor’s appointments. Without your license, you may not have the ability to provide needed transportation for them.
A restricted license may be an option
Those who believe that loss of their licenses will constitute an undue hardship might be able to apply for a limited license. Typically, these licenses restrict where and when you can drive. They also limit you to driving a vehicle with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed.
In order to drive with an IID, you will have to perform a breath test every time you start your vehicle. Violating the terms of a limited license could mean losing it along with the ability to drive anywhere. Before you plead guilty or take a plea to a DUI charge, carefully examine your situation and the applicable Florida laws.