If you cause property damage or personal injury to someone while driving under the influence of alcohol, you may face a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
However, serious issues associated with DUI can lead to a felony conviction with heavy fines, imprisonment and license revocation.
Penalties to expect
Both DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide are second-degree felonies with a fine of up to $10,000 and /or 15 years in prison. However, a driver who leaves the scene of a crash following DUI manslaughter or vehicular homicide is guilty of a first-degree felony, which comes with a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 30 years behind bars.
Driver license revocation
In the state of Florida, license revocation periods are harsh. For example, if you have a second DUI conviction within five years of the initial conviction, you face a minimum revocation period of five years. For DUI manslaughter, you face permanent revocation.
The hardship license
Unless you have a Commercial Motor Vehicle License and are therefore disqualified, you may be able to obtain a hardship license so that you can drive during your revocation period. To be eligible, you must comply with any court-ordered requirements, such as reporting as scheduled for alcohol treatment or counseling.
Even as a first offender, penalties for a DUI conviction can include license suspension, DUI school and community service in addition to the fines. For subsequent offenses, the court can order you to install and maintain an ignition interlock device at your own expense. As you can see, penalties on all fronts escalate when a DUI misdemeanor becomes a felony conviction, and you will want the best outcome possible for your case.