Can You Avoid Jail Time for a 3rd DUI in Florida?

If you’re arrested for a 3rd DUI in Florida, you can face jail time of up to 5 years. However, there are routes to either reduce the sentences or get the charges dropped, with the help of a Florida DUI defense lawyer.

Defending a 3rd DUI in Florida:

If you’ve been arrested for a third DUI in Florida, don’t delay in making a defense. Your future is at stake, and you need an aggressive defense. Please contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for a swift defense.

We regularly defend people that have been accused of breathalyzer test refusals or have been unlawfully arrested. Even if you were drunk, the stop may have been unlawful. It’s always worth having your case reviewed when the alternative is a life-changing amount of time behind bars.

Common Defenses for 3rd DUIs in Florida:

Were You Unlawfully Stopped?

Law enforcement should only stop your vehicle and perform a breathalyzer test if they:

  • Had reasonable suspicion that you committed or were committing a traffic infraction.
  • They had probable cause that you were committing or had committed a crime.

If you were pulled over without any reason, then you could have been unlawfully stopped which can result in your case being dropped.

For example, if a police officer stopped and pulled you over with no justification and you then refused the test, then you would be arrested. But it would have been unlawful.

Are the Breathalyzer Results Accurate?

Breathalyzer tests measure blood alcohol content (BAC) to prove whether a driver is over the limit. But, these tests must be performed under strict regulations.

If the test was performed incorrectly, then your results could be thrown out.

The apparatus is also sometimes damaged or the alleged driver was given incorrect instructions. When this happens, the results may be incorrect.

Read Related: Are DUI Breath Test Results Always Accurate?

Was Your Field Sobriety Test Fair?

Field sobriety tests such as walking in a straight line, or standing on one foot, can help the police determine if the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

However, sometimes field sobriety tests are used incorrectly. For example, there may have been a misunderstanding of language. Or, the driver may have physical impairments or balance difficulties, that the police officer determined as a sign of being drunk.

The police officer should also have been qualified to perform a field sobriety test. If they weren’t, or the above was relevant, then the test results could be thrown out.

Inpatient Treatment Program

Another potential way to avoid or reduce a 3rd DUI in Florida is through an Inpatient Treatment Program.

By being proactive and enrolling in an inpatient treatment program voluntarily (instead of under a judge’s order), you can often increase your chances for leniency.

By proving you’re taking initiative to recover from substance use issues and addictions, you not only help yourself but also potentially reduce the penalties for your previous mistakes.

Please contact our Florida DUI lawyers today to get started on a route such as this.

Controlled Substance and Prescription Drug DUIs

In addition to alcohol, you can also be arrested for driving while under the influence of controlled substances, including prescription medication and illegal drugs. Even if your prior DUIs were for alcohol, an arrest for a third or subsequent DUI for driving while under the influence of controlled substances can be prosecuted as a felony.

DUI arrests involving controlled substances are often for illegal drugs such as marijuana or cocaine, as well as prescription drugs such as :

  • Adderall
  • Ambien
  • Codeine
  • Lunesta
  • Morphine
  • Percocet, Oxycontin (oxycodone)
  • Ritalin
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet (hydrocodone)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)

Just 10 Days to Get a Temporary Driving Permit

You only have 10 days after your arrest to demand a formal review hearing and obtain a 42-day driving permit. This is the only way you can challenge the suspension of your driver’s license, as with 3rd-time DUIs you cannot qualify for immediate reinstatement.

A 42-day hardship license will allow you to drive for essential reasons still, like work.

Hardship Reinstatement

If you are convicted for a 3rd DUI in Florida within 10 years of the previous one, then your driver’s license will be revoked for 10 years.

Thankfully, you can apply for a hardship reinstatement hearing after two years (so long as you haven’t consumed alcohol or a controlled substance in the previous year).

Applying for a hardship reinstatement requires that you complete DUI school and remain under DUI supervision until the revocation period ends.

A hardship license can be used to allow you to travel for essential purposes like traveling to and from work.

Penalties for a 3rd DUI in Florida:

Offenses committed within 10 years of the previous DUI can be prosecuted as a felony, which can result in:

  • Between 30 days to five years in jail/prison.
  • A 90-day vehicle impoundment
  • A ten-year driver’s license revocation.
  • A fine of between $2,000 and $5,000.
  • A mandatory ignition interlock device on your vehicle, lasting at least two years after you’re eligible for a driver’s license again.
  • If there was a minor in the vehicle, or your BAC was .15% or higher, then the fine is $4,558.
  • All third-time offenders are also required to enroll in monthly-reporting probation and substance abuse courses.
  • You may also be ordered sobriety and drug monitoring by the judge.

If you fail to meet these requirements, you may face further penalties for probation violations.

Source: Florida Statute 316.193

Florida DUI Facts

Read Related: DUI Frequently Asked Questions

DUI Defense Attorney in Pinellas County, FL

If you want to avoid or minimize jail time after a third DUI in Florida, you should contact a Florida DUI defense attorney immediately. You have just ten days from the date of your arrest to challenge the initial suspension of your driver’s license and the quicker you take action, the better your chances are of a defense.

Free Consultations

Our criminal defense attorneys in Pinellas County at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., are part of one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with over 60 years of experience. We have the reputation and connections to make things happen.

Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300