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Convicted of drunk driving in Florida? It's a costly experience

You'd been looking forward to that reunion with college friends for weeks, and it didn't disappoint. It was a lot of fun, sharing stories over dinner and drinks.

But don't sour those memories by getting in the car after having had too much to drink.

If you're arrested on drunk driving charges, your life will change in an instant. Here's a glimpse of what you likely will face if you are arrested and ultimately convicted of DUI in Florida. Be warned: none are enjoyable, and some could cost a lot of money.

  1. You'll be arrested, put into a police car and hauled to the closest jail or police station. There, you'll have your mug shot taken, and you'll also be fingerprinted.
  2. You'll need to go before a judge.
  3. If you're convicted, you will have your driver's license suspended – even if it's your first offense. In Florida, you could lose your license for six months to one year. You can apply for a hardship license to allow you to get to work or school, but your ability to go places freely will be strongly reduced.
  4. You'll be assessed a fine – and that's just the beginning of your financial repercussions. In Florida, your fine will be anywhere from $500 to $2,000 if this is your first conviction. If you are driving with a minor in your car, or your blood alcohol is 0.15 or higher, count on paying anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000.
  5. Plan on doing community service. For first-time offenders, Florida requires a minimum of 50 hours. You can pay an additional fine in lieu of the community service.
  6. Jail time or probation. For a first conviction, you could receive up to six months behind bars, or nine months if your blood alcohol is 0.15 or higher or a child was in your car. Jail time is at the court's discretion. You could receive probation of as long as one year.
  7. Attend a DUI school to have your license reinstated. This entails hours of classes and a personal assessment. You will be charged for this education.
  8. Budget for higher auto insurance premiums. They could double or triple.

That night out just got very costly.

You'll undoubtedly want to hire an experienced DUI attorney if you believe you were wrongfully charged. Still, any DUI case could warrant representation.

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