Seeing those flashing red and blue lights behind you can absolutely ruin your day, but if you have had previous encounters with law enforcement related to driving issues, it might make you panic.
After all, the penalties that you face for driving-related charges, such as driving under the influence (DUI) increase with the number of previous arrests and convictions on your record. Once you know how the penalties increase given your specific impaired driving record in Florida, you can then make a more informed decision about how to handle pending charges after a DUI arrest.
Jail time, fines and license suspension all increase with previous convictions
Like for most crimes, the penalties someone faces for a DUI conviction will increase substantially from offense to offense. Obviously, first-time offenders receive the most lenient sentences, but even they are subject to relatively significant penalties.
A first-time DUI can result in a fine of between $500 and $2,000, 50 hours of community service, up to six months in jail and the loss of your license for up to a year. With each subsequent offense, those consequences increase. A fourth DUI becomes a felony charge that carries up to five years in jail and the permanent revocation of your license.
Avoiding a first conviction can mean avoiding escalating consequences
The fact that penalties increase as the number of convictions on your record rises does not mean that you should wait until you already have two previous charges to start taking a DUI arrest seriously.
Defending against a first-time DUI offense can be a very smart decision, as it can protect you from the risk of increased penalties in the future. Also, you can avoid the secondary consequences of a DUI conviction, which could include a criminal record and the chilling effect of that record on your career.