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Florida Ranked as a Top 25 Toughest State for DUI Offenders

WalletHub released a study ranking all 50 states based on how strict, or “tough”, their DUI laws are on offenders. Florida is ranked as a top-25 state in terms of strict DUI laws. Specifically, Florida is ranked 21st, tied with Nevada. Though, Florida is actually in the top 5 for its “prevention rank.”

WalletHub utilized over a dozen metrics to evaluate which states have laws on the books featuring strict penalties and compare them with states that are more lenient for DUI offenses. Each of the variables was weighted so that the toughest laws (e.g., mandatory minimum jail sentence) and laws shown to have a major impact on repeat offenders, like ignition interlock devices, retain a greater weight. This may be why Florida is ranked much higher for “prevention” since Florida law (specifically, section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes) requires that interlock devices be installed on vehicles of drivers who are convicted of a DUI. The amount of time you must keep and use the interlock device depends on whether you are a repeat offender or not. For example, for a first-time DUI offender, an ignition interlock device is only required if ordered by the court. However, if you have three DUI convictions on your record, you will have that ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least two years, and a Florida court has the discretionary authority to make you use the device for an even longer period of time.

Along with potentially having to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, the WalletHub study determined that, on average, you can expect to have your license suspended for at least three months after being stopped for a DUI – even before trial – since many states “administratively” suspend licenses after a DUI arrest. In Florida, an administrative license suspension can actually last up to six months.

Florida probably wasn’t ranked higher on the list since the state, at least for now, does not impose mandatory minimum jail sentences for first-time DUI offenders or second-time DUI offenders. In contrast, Arizona is ranked as the toughest state on DUI offenders and the Copper State imposes a mandatory 10-day jail sentence for first-time DUI offenders and a 90-day mandatory jail sentence for second-time DUI offenders. It’s actually somewhat surprising that Florida isn’t ranked lower on the list since South Dakota, the state ranked the most lenient on DUI offenders, also has no mandatory minimum jail sentence for first-time or second-time DUI convictions. Though, South Dakota also does not impose an administrative license suspension and does not impose mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices.

Contact an Experienced Palm Beach DUI Defense Attorney Today

As you can see, if you or a loved one is pulled over for a DUI in Florida, the ramifications can be quite serious. You need an experienced advocate on your side fighting for your Constitutionally-protected rights. The Skier Law Firm, P.A. is here to help. Whether you were arrested in Palm Beach County, Martin County, St. Lucie County, Broward County, Dade County, Lee County or any other surrounding counties, we are here to help.

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