Tampa’s DUI Problem: What Can Happen if you get Arrested for DUI?

A DUI conviction in Florida can stay on your record for 75 years, impacting your ability to work and increasing the cost of your insurance.

For the most part, we have every right to be Tampa proud. However, when it comes to drunk driving, our area ranks as one of the worst in Florida. Since 2014, Hillsborough County has been ranked in the top three counties for drug and alcohol-related crashes. In 2018, Hillsborough County ranked number one in the state for impaired driving.  

DUI penalties are severe and will impact your life for a long time. Learn the consequences of drunk driving and how a DUI attorney can help should you get pulled over.  

Tampa DUI Squad and Hillsborough County DUI Arrests 

In April 2019, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office introduced a dedicated, centralized DUI Enforcement Squad. This law enforcement unit consists of 20 deputies and two supervisors specifically trained to detect and apprehend impaired and/or intoxicated drivers.  

The DUI Enforcement Squad partnered with Tampa Police and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to deter drivers from getting behind the wheel while impaired. By now you may have noticed enforcement efforts on state roads located within the operation area (including State Road 60 and I-4) or the Mobile Breath Alcohol Testing Unit (B.A.T. Mobile) and jail transport van at 2109 E. 11th Avenue in Tampa.  

“We have zero tolerance for reckless individuals who choose to drive while impaired. By launching a new DUI Enforcement Squad, we hope to not only create safer roadways, but also use these deputies to educate the community – and holding workshops at area high schools to teach young people the importance of driving sober.”

Tampa Sheriff, Chad Chronister

On the first night, the Tampa DUI Squad deputies initiated 238 traffic stops, issued 79 citations, and arrested 41 people for driving impaired, among other offenses.  

The lesson: don’t chance it. Call Uber/Lyft or be prepared to call us to defend DUI charges.  

Related > DUI Defense Strategies 

Florida DUI Penalties 

Those facing DUI charges in Florida can expect a range of penalties from a citation to steep fines, community service, even jail time. These are the legal penalties in the state of Florida for DUI charges:   

First DUI Conviction  

In March 2018, the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) established the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (“RIDR”) initiative. RIDR aims to reduce impaired driving by imposing extreme sanctions including alcohol monitoring devices and DUI education programs for first-time, non-aggravated DUI offenders.  

Florida DUI penalties for first DUI include:  

  • A fine ranging from $500 to $2,000 (depends on BAC level and if a minor was present) 
  • 50 hours of community service 
  • One-year probation 
  • Revocation of your driver’s license for six months to one year 
  • Potential jail time (up to six months or up to nine months if BAC was higher than 0.15% or a minor was present) 
  • 10-day vehicle impoundment 
  • Increase in insurance costs 
  • Non-U.S. citizens could face deportation 
  • Interlock device in your car for up to six months if BAC was more than 0.15% 

Second DUI Conviction Within Five Years 

  • A fine ranging from $1000 to $2,000 (depends on BAC level and if a minor was present) 
  • 50 hours of community service 
  • One-year probation 
  • Five-year revocation of your driver’s license  
  • Potential jail time (up to nine months or 10 to 12 months if BAC was higher than 0.15% or a minor was present) 
  • 30-day vehicle impoundment 
  • Increase in insurance costs 
  • Non-U.S. citizens could face deportation 
  • Interlock device in your car for one to two years if BAC was more than 0.15% 
  • Mandatory completion of DUI school 

Third Conviction Within 10 Years 

  • Felony charge 
  • A fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 (depends on BAC level and if a minor was present) 
  • 50 hours of community service 
  • One to five years of probation 
  • 10-year revocation of your driver’s license  
  • Jail time of at least 30 days and up to five years  
  • 90-day vehicle impoundment 
  • Increase in insurance costs 
  • Non-U.S. citizens could face deportation 
  • Interlock device in your car for at least two years if BAC was more than 0.20% 
  • Mandatory completion of DUI school 

Fourth or Subsequent DUI Conviction 

  • Felony charge 
  • A minimum fine of $2,000  
  • 50 hours of community service 
  • One to five years of probation 
  • Permanent revocation of your driver’s license  
  • Potential jail time for up to five years   
  • 90-day vehicle impoundment 
  • Non-U.S. citizens could face deportation 
  • Interlock device in your car for at least two years if BAC was more than 0.20% 
  • Mandatory completion of DUI school 

Florida board-certified Attorney Ben Stechschulte is a former Prosecutor who can skillfully defend your DUI charges. Don’t put your future at stake – call our law office 24/7.  

“Ben went above and beyond in ensuring I received the least consequences from my circumstances, and in return, my DUI was stipulated and I avoided additional fine amount, ignition interlock, and impounding of my vehicle.”

Gabriel 

Related > Issues with the RIDR Program 

DUI Penalties Involving Underage Drivers or Minors

Legal consequences are automatically increased if a minor is in the vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest. Also, underage drivers are subject to the penalties of a DUI conviction if their blood alcohol content is 0.02% or higher. The legal limit for BAC in all states is 0.08% for individuals over the age of 21. 

You may have many questions about your DUI, and we’re here to listen to the specifics of your case. Don’t let a lapse in judgment impact your future. We’ll work hard to minimize the penalties of your DUI arrest.   

Call Stechschulte Nell for DUI Defense 

Hillsborough County has consistently been ranked as one of the worst in Florida for DUI related accidents, injuries, and casualties. We honestly would rather you call a car service than have to call us.  

Should you be arrested for drunk driving in Tampa Bay, the law office of Stechschulte Nell can help. Our knowledgeable attorneys are experienced in DUI defense. To schedule a free consultation, please call us immediately at (813) 280-1244 or submit an online case review. 

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