Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is hazardous to your health and to those on the roads. Florida’s laws state that a DUI is an offense where your impairment can be proved by showing that your normal faculties are impaired or that you have an unlawful blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The legal limit for those 21 or older is .08 percent.

Although the offense can be proven in multiple ways, the penalties are the same. On a first conviction, you’ll face a fine of up to $1,000 but at least $500. If your BAC is .15 or higher, you’ll be fined at least $1,000 and up to $2,000. Additionally, you may be placed on probation or be incarcerated for up to a year.

On a first conviction, you will face imprisonment of up to six months. If your BAC is .15, that increases to up to nine months. Fortunately, the court can determine that an alcohol or drug abuse program is a good alternative, so you may be able to avoid going to prison at all. Instead, you may need to complete your time at the program.

A first conviction for a DUI also results in 50 mandatory hours of community service. If you cannot perform community service, you can be fined $10 for each hour required of you.

A DUI is no laughing matter, and it can impact you in more ways than the above. Fortunately, you have the right to defend yourself, which means there’s a chance you may not receive a conviction at all.

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws,” accessed Sep. 29, 2017