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What happens if you're convicted of drunk driving?

If you're stopped for drinking and driving, there are a number of penalties you may face. Beyond the legal issues you could face, you may also struggle to keep your job or go to school. Your reputation may be damaged, even if it turns out that the police were incorrect and you weren't drinking and driving.

Your main concern may be what kind of penalties you face if you're convicted. On a first conviction, you do face penalties that include community service, fines and potentially probation or a jail sentence of up to a year. On a first conviction, you cannot go to jail for more than six months, but with up to six months probation, you will have monitoring for up to one year.

On a second conviction, you face fines up to $2,000 if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .14 or lower. If it was .15 or higher, you face a fine of up to $4,000. If you have a minor in your vehicle at the time of the arrest, you face up to $4,000 in fines.

When it comes to jail sentences, you face up to nine months in prison for a second offense. For a third, you face up to 12 months in prison. A fourth or subsequent arrest and conviction can result in up to five years in prison.

In all cases, you may lose your vehicle for at least some time unless you can show that your family has no other manner of transportation. For this reason, it's important to discuss your case with your attorney; you could lose your vehicle anywhere from 10 days to 90 days depending on the number of convictions on your record.

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, "Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws," accessed May 04, 2017

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