Drunk driving is serious in Florida. Penalties only get harsher with each subsequent offense. If this is your third offense DUI, and you are unsure of where to turn for help, you need an experienced DUI defense lawyer on your side.
Reach out to Brett Metcalf, Criminal Defense Attorney, P.A., for a free and confidential case evaluation today. Call (813) 258-4800.
What’s a Third Offense DUI?
Generally, whether subsequent DUIs are punished as second or third offenses depends on the amount of time between DUI convictions.
This is commonly referred to as the “look-back” period. For many third offense DUIs, there is a ten-year look-back period. This means your most recent DUI must have occurred within ten years of a prior DUI to be considered a third offense DUI.
If your most recent DUI conviction occurred within the last ten years, your third DUI would be considered a third-degree felony. However, you may be charged with a misdemeanor if your previous DUI conviction was over ten years ago.
Penalties of a Tampa 3rd DUI
When you are found guilty of a third offense DUI in Tampa, the penalties of a conviction may be severe. Expected consequences associated with third-offense DUIs include:
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for a minimum of two years
- Mandatory jail or prison time of up to 30 days for a misdemeanor and up to five years for a felony
- Vehicle impoundment for a minimum of 90 days
- Fines as high as $5,000
- Community service
- Completion of drug or alcohol treatment
You may face harsher consequences if any of the following apply to your third offense DUI:
- There was an accident involving property damage
- There was an accident involving physical bodily injury
- The driver’s blood alcohol concentration BAC levels were at .15 or higher
- There was a passenger under 18 years old in the vehicle
Third Offense DUI Restrictions
In addition to the criminal penalties associated with a third offense DUI conviction, there are also other restrictions you may face.
Revoked or Suspended License
First, you can expect to have your license suspended or revoked. If you have had at least one DUI conviction within the last ten years, your license may be revoked for a minimum of ten years. If you are convicted of a fourth offense DUI, your license can be revoked permanently.
Any driver with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 or greater can face a minimum one-year license suspension if they have ever had a previous license suspension for drunk driving. Violation of Florida’s implied consent laws can also result in a maximum license suspension of 18 months.
You could apply for a hardship license if you need to attend work, doctor appointments, school, or religious services. You may be eligible for a hardship license after having completed a minimum of 30 days of suspension. During this time, you will not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle in any capacity.
Note that administrative license suspensions are possible even in instances where you are not found guilty of a third offense DUI or subsequent DUIs. For this reason, it is critical to get a DUI attorney on your side who can help you avoid restrictions like these.
How to Challenge a Third Offense DUI
If you hope to avoid being found guilty of a third offense DUI in Tampa, you may need to take action to defend your case.
Pretrial Diversion Programs
You may be able to work out a plea agreement with the state’s prosecuting attorney.
Here, you could enter a pretrial diversion program that could allow you to avoid jail or prison time, fines, and the other consequences of a third offense DUI conviction. However, the state may be less willing to negotiate a plea agreement with you since you are a repeat offender.
But, if no one was seriously injured, there was no minor child present, and there were no other aggravating factors present, the state’s prosecutor may be more willing to help you seek rehabilitative care as opposed to jail time.
Defenses in Your DUI Case
If pretrial diversion programs are not an option for your case, challenging your third offense DUI charges may be your best option. There are many defenses that can be used in DUI cases; some of the more common include:
- Illegal stops
- Police misconduct
- Lack of probable cause
- Mistake of fact
- Laboratory issues
- Inaccuracies in chemical blood test results
- Illegal search and seizure
After closely evaluating the specific details of the charges against you and the evidence the state has obtained to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, your third offense DUI lawyer can give you a better idea of which defense strategy is most likely to produce a favorable outcome in your case.
Meet with a Third Offense DUI Lawyer in Tampa
If you have previous DUI convictions on your record, and this is your third offense, the penalties of a conviction could be devastating. Get help clearing your name of a third offense DUI when you contact Brett Metcalf, Criminal Defense Attorney, P.A.