If you have been arrested for a third DUI offense, your minimum statutory requirements will depend on whether your third DUI occurred within ten (10) years of any prior DUI conviction.
If the third DUI occurred within ten (10) years of any prior offense, the crime can be charged as a felony.
Within the first 21 days after the arrest, the prosecutor might file the third DUI as a misdemeanor even if it occurred within ten (10) years of a prior conviction.
If you were not represented by an attorney for one of the prior DUI offenses, then the prosecutor may have a difficult time using that prior uncounseled plea for purposes of charging you with the felony DUI offense.
Additionally, if any of the DUI-related convictions were old or occurred outside of the State of Florida, it might be difficult for the prosecutor to prove.
Hiring an attorney to help you fight for the best resolution at the earliest stages of the case can make a huge difference.
Whether your case is filed as a felony or a misdemeanor, if the third (3rd) DUI is reduced to a less serious offense such as reckless driving, you can avoid many of these harsh penalties that would otherwise be required.
Click here to read more about our Recent Case Results in DUI Cases.
Attorney for a Third DUI in Tampa, FL
Hire an attorney immediately after the arrest. The prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office in Tampa, Hillsborough County, will typically decide on whether to file the charge as a felony or a misdemeanor within 21 days after the arrest.
Your attorney may be able to present sufficient information to the intake prosecutor to convince them to file the charge as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
Contact us to discuss your case.
Third DUI Outside of 10 Years of Second DUI Conviction
Under Florida law, if the third DUI occurs outside ten (10) years of any prior DUI, then you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor offense.
The court must impose the following mandatory minimum requirements must be imposed by the court unless you avoid the conviction:
- Incarceration or Jail Time: Imprisonment for not more than 12 months;
- Terms of Probation: Up to 12 months (with credit for any jail time served);
- Fine: Not less than $2,000, or more than $5,000 (with BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle, the fine will not be less than $4,000);
- Vehicle impoundment: Unless the family of the defendant has no other transportation, the vehicle impoundment is 90 days which must not occur at the same time as the jail time (except if the vehicle is operated solely by the employees of the defendant or any business owned by the defendant);
- Driver License Revocation Periods: Minimum 180 days revocation with a maximum of one (1) year;
- DUI School: Level II, which includes substance abuse evaluation and requires completion of any recommended follow-up treatment; and
- Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device: At least two (2) years.
Third DUI Within 10 Years of Any Prior DUI Conviction
Under Florida law, if the third DUI occurs within ten (10) years of the second DUI, then you may be charged with a felony DUI offense with the following mandatory minimum requirements must be imposed by the court unless you avoid the conviction:
- Mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days with at least 48 hours being served consecutively;
- Not more than $5,000 (unless the BAL was .20 or above or a minor was in the vehicle, in which case the fine will be between $2,000 to $5,000;
- Vehicle Impoundment:
- 90 days;
- Driver’s License Revocation:
- When both of the prior DUI convictions occurred within a 10-year period, then at least a 10-year revocation.
- The driver may be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after two (2) years if the driver has not consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a vehicle for the twelve (12) months prior to reinstatement, DUI school is completed, and the driver remains in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period.
- For a third DUI conviction in which at least one of the prior DUI convictions occurred within five (5) years, then at least a five-year revocation.
- The driver may be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after 12 months.
- Mandatory ignition interlock device:
- at least two (2) years;
- Level II DUI School:
- Three days of classroom instruction and a substance abuse evaluation and completion of any recommended follow-up treatment.
Can a Vehicle Be Seized for Forfeiture?
For any felony DUI, the arresting officer might seize the vehicle for forfeiture. For example, the arresting officer with Tampa Police Department might decide to seize a vehicle for a third DUI within ten (10) years of a prior or any fourth DUI.
If so, the “Holding Information” section of the police report, will list the reason for the hold as “forfeiture.”
The Seized/Towed Vehicle Details section of the police report will list the reason as “Forfeiture (Police Impound)” and provide information about the license, VIN, and description. The storage location is usually listed as “Stored at: TPD IMPOUND LOT.”
The paperwork doesn’t explain that an attorney can help negotiate the vehicle’s release without paying any extra.
Most people representing themselves speak with Jose Fernandez, who has the authority to release the hold. If so, the police report will provide the following:
Keys: With Vehicle
Holding Information: The vehicle was police impounded with a hold placed for forfeiture.
Reason for holding: Seized for Forfeiture (3rd DUI within 10)
Process status: Checked
Authorized by: 48652 – JOSE “JOE” FERNANDEZ, TPD
Permitted to release: Yes
Towing costs: $170.00
Tow request date:
Tow arrival date:
Method: Returned to Owner Status: Disposed
CONTACT TAMPA POLICE FORFEITURE 813-276-3766
Fines for a Third DUI in Florida
The third (3rd) DUI fines depend on whether the prior conviction occurred within or outside of 10 years.
For a third conviction within ten (10) years from the second offense, the fine is:
- Not less than $2,000 or more than $5,000; or
- If the BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor child in the vehicle, then the fine is not less than $4,000.
Jail Time or Imprisonment for a Third DUI in Florida
At the court’s discretion, the court can give the defendant credit for any time served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program, which is credited toward the term of imprisonment required for a third DUI in Florida.
The jail time or imprisonment required for a third DUI in Florida is as follows:
- If the third DUI conviction is within ten (10) years of a prior conviction, then the mandatory imprisonment is at least 30 days (at least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive); or
- If the third conviction is more than ten (10) years of a prior conviction, then the mandatory imprisonment must be not more than twelve (12) months.
Driver’s License Revocation Period for a Third DUI
The driver license revocation period for a third DUI depends on whether the third offense occurred within ten (10) years of a prior conviction including:
- Third offense within ten (10) years of the second conviction:
- Minimum ten (10) years revocation.
- May be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after two (2) years.
- Third offense outside 10 years:
- The same revocation period applies for a first DUI.
If the DHSMV discovers the third DUI conviction within ten (10) years of any prior DUI conviction, it will send you an order of license revocation. The order will list the date of offense, the date of conviction, the county, and the case number.
The order explains that a hardship license may not be issued until two (2) years after the revocation period begins. At that point, you are required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle under Section 322.16(1)(a) and (b).
You will also receive a notice that you are required to purchase and provide FR44 Certification of Insurance providing bodily injury liability (BIL) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance coverage in the amount of $100,000 / $300,000 / $50,000 or combined single limits of $350,000 and maintain it for three years from the date of suspension of your financial responsibility case.
If otherwise eligible, to avoid a $250 reinstatement fee, you must provide the FR44 form before the FR suspension date.
If you are approved for a hardship license, you must obtain the FR44 before your reinstatement.
Reinstatement of the Driver License after a Third DUI Conviction
Individuals convicted of a DUI may have their driver license privilege reinstated for business or employment purposes.
To apply for a reinstatement of hardship privileges after a third DUI within ten (10) years of a prior conviction, the court or the DHSMV will impose a ten (10) year revocation.
To apply for a hardship driving privileges during those ten (10) years, the driver must:
- not drive for any reason for two (2) years;
- complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period
- not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement;
- install the mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) for two years.
Finding a Lawyer for a Third DUI in Florida
If you need to find an attorney for a third DUI in Tampa or Plant City, FL, then contact a Tampa DUI Attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.
We can help you understand the best ways to fight a third DUI offense in Tampa, Florida, or throughout Hillsborough County.
Whether your case involves a breath test, a blood test, a urine test, or a refusal to submit to testing, we can help.
Call 813-250-0500 today.
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