- Be polite to the police officer, move slowly and make sure you have your license and registration ready.
- Realize you are likely on videotape as most police cars record stops.
- If interrogated, mention that you are nervous and ask if you can call your lawyer. You may not be entitled to do so, but it shows you are prudent.
- Cooperate at all times, including when being handcuffed.
- Give careful answers to questions.
- Beg the officer to let you go.
- Apologize to the officer or accept any liability. In fact, simply be quiet.
- Admit what you have been drinking, discuss where you have been and never say anything to the effect of “I couldn’t even do that sober…” Speak in generalities when you have to speak.
- Start crying and trying to negotiate or bargain with the officer.
- Tell the officer you’re going to lose your job, your occupation, your career or your spouse.
- Mention that you know his supervisor or others on the police force.
Drive safely. Most DUI stops are for traffic violations such as speeding, unsafe lane changes, not driving within the lane, illegal turns, etc. Be focused and attentive while driving so that you are protecting other drivers on the road and not giving police probable cause to pull you over. Make sure you turn on your headlights, fasten your seatbelts, and have calm passengers. Do not use your cell phone in any way, play with your car stereo, eat while driving, or do anything that will divert your attention from your driving.
- 1st offense. Jail time for a first conviction is not more than six months, however if you have a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher or a minor in the vehicle, it goes to nine months, which is the maximum penalty. Probation on a DUI first conviction is no more than one year; if it’s a felony DUI, then it’s up to five years.
- 2nd conviction. On a second conviction, you can face nine months jail time; however if you have a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher or a minor in the vehicle, it’s 12 months possible jail time. If your second conviction for DUI is within five years, you face mandatory jail of at least ten days and at least 48 hours of that confinement must be consecutive. So, you have to do at least two days consecutive jail.
- 3rd conviction. If you get a third conviction and it’s within ten years, there’s mandatory jail of at least 30 days. In addition, you can face up to five years in prison on certain third and fourth DUI convictions.
- 1st conviction. On a first conviction for DUI, it used to be a $250 fine to a maximum $500 fine. Now it’s a $500 fine to a maximum $1,000 fine.
- 2nd conviction. The fine on a second conviction used to be $500, now it is $1,000 to $2,000. Fines are again increased if you blow over .15.
- 3rd conviction. If you are convicted of a third DUI within ten years, that’s a felony punishable up to five years prison or $5,000 fine.
- 4th conviction. If you have a fourth DUI, it’s also a felony punishable up to five years prison, a $5,000 fine, or if you cause serious bodily injury while driving under the influence regardless of whether it’s your first, second or third offense, it’s a third degree felony punishable up to no more than $5,000 and five years prison.
- When a death is involved. If death is involved, the DUI becomes a second-degree felony in the state of Florida, which can expose you to a maximum of a $10,000 fine or 15 years in prison. If you’re charged with DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, failing to stop and give information or rendering aid to the victim, you can be charged with first degree felony, which is punishable by more than a $10,000 fine or 30 years in prison.
- Causing property damage or personal injury. Any person who causes property damage or personal injury to another while driving under the influence can be guilty of a first degree misdemeanor which can mean a $1,000 fine or one year’s jail.