Can I really go to jail for DUI?

YES. Florida has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. Jail is a possibility in every DUI case, even a first offense. A first DUI in Florida is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, or 9 months in jail if your blood alcohol level was .15 or above or if there was a minor child in the vehicle at the time. Keep in mind these are maximum penalties that can occur in worst-case scenarios.

Obviously, the possibility of having to serve jail time as a result of your DUI depends on the particular facts of your case. No lawyer can tell you how much time you are certain to get—because no lawyer knows!

Some of the factors the prosecutor and the judge will consider when determining whether an individual deserves jail are:

  • Property damage or personal injuries caused
  • Blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of driving
  • Driving pattern leading up to arrest
  • Criminal and traffic record

In addition to these factors, the possibility of jail time greatly increases once the person has prior DUI arrests or convictions. A second DUI conviction within five years of the first carries a mandatory 10-day jail sentence and the possibility for up to 9 months (12 months if .15 and above or minor child in car). A third DUI conviction within 10 years of the previous conviction becomes a third-degree felony and carries a mandatory 30 days in jail, with a maximum of up to 5 years in prison.