Is a Florida DUI a felony?
For a first offense, a Florida DUI is usually considered a misdemeanor, however the charges typically vary by situation. Regardless of whether a DUI conviction is considered a felony or not, the charge will appear on your criminal record. This will make it harder to get a job, rent or buy a home, or do anything else that requires a background check.
Infractions, misdemeanors and felonies
Infractions, such as a speeding ticket are the least serious type of crime. They can typically be handled by paying the citation, and don’t require you to stand before a courtroom or impose any jail time on the perpetrator. Misdemeanors are more serious, and are usually punishable with jail time for up to one year. Felonies are the most severe crime, and often have lengthy prison sentences.
Misdemeanor vs. felony DUI
If you are convicted of a DUI which caused property damage or personal injury, you will be charged with a First Degree misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail. Anyone convicted of a DUI that causes serious bodily injury is guilty of a Third Degree felony which is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years of prison. Repeat offenders that have had three DUI convictions within 10 years, or are charged with a fourth DUI conviction face the same felony penalties.
While some instances of a DUI may not be considered a felony, any DUI is a criminal offense and will impact you severely for many years after the incident. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous and leads to thousands of deaths annually. This is one mistake that can drastically alter your life, whether it be as a result of causing a tragic death, or preventing you from entering into your desired career field. It isn’t worth the risk. Find more resources about drunk driving prevention at MADD.org.
To see Florida’s state laws on this topic, click here.