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First conviction DUI? Here's what you need to know

You were having a great night out with friends when you saw the flashing lights behind you. The police were pulling you over, but you didn't think you were over the limit. Surprisingly, you were and now face charges.

In Florida, first convictions for DUIs lead to probation or incarceration. In either case, the maximum sentence is one year. For instance, you may spend a week in jail and then the remainder of the year on probation. It is the court's choice as to whether or not you'll go to jail, so it's a good idea to approach the judge and anyone else involved in the case with respect. Your defense attorney will talk to you about alternative penalties, such as going to a residential alcoholism treatment program, to decide what kind of arrangement might work best for you.

If this is your first conviction, then the fines you face will range between $500 and $4,000 depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Higher fines are typically reserved for those with BACs of .15 or higher.

To reinstate your license before the revocation expires, you'll need to seek out a hardship license. This license may give you the right to drive to work or school as necessary, since not being able to drive would result in undue hardship.

You may need to pay fines to receive your license, and there could be requirements such as the completion of a DUI school program or treatment. The courts look favorably upon those who take it upon themselves to seek treatment to better themselves and reduce the risk of future arrests.

Source: stateofflorida.com, "DUI Information," accessed Oct. 03, 2017

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