Third DUI in Florida

A third DUI can be charged as a felony offense if any prior conviction occurred within the past ten (10) years. Additionally, a third DUI conviction within 10 years of any prior DUI conviction will result in a 10-year revocation of the driver’s license.

According to DHSMV Bulletin #001/2005, the ten-year revocation is triggered when the third DUI offense date is within ten years from any previous conviction date.

Not all DUI arrests will result in a conviction. Avoiding that conviction may save you thousands of dollars from both direct and indirect consequences that would otherwise be required by a conviction.

You only have ten (910) days after your arrest to demand a formal review hearing to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. The formal review hearing is one of the most important parts of your case.

Attorney for a 3rd DUI in Tampa, FL

If you are facing a third DUI in Florida, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your case. You only have 10 days after the arrest to retain an attorney to demand a formal review hearing and secure your 42-day driving permit.

We represent clients accused of refusing to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine. Our DUI defense attorneys know how to fight to keep the chemical test results out of court at trial. Find out more about fighting to reduce the DUI charges to reckless driving to avoid a driver’s license suspension and other more serious penalties.

With offices in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County and New Port Richey in Pasco County, we fight drunk driving cases throughout the greater Tampa Bay area.

Call (813) 250-0500.

10 Day Rule for Demanding a Formal Review Hearing

You only have ten (10) calendar days after the arrest to demand a formal review hearing. Demanding the formal review hearing within that 10 day deadline is the only way to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license after a third DUI arrest.

For a third DUI, there is never a good reason not to request a formal review hearing. If you have any prior DUI conviction or even a prior administrative suspension triggered by a DUI arrest, then you are not qualified for immediate reinstatement.

Act quickly to hire an attorney to demand your formal review hearing and help you obtain a 42-day permit so you can continue driving for hardship reasons why your criminal defense attorney fights the case.

Is the 3rd DUI a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

If you enter a plea to a charge of DUI in Florida and you have two prior DUI convictions on your driving record, then your case could be prosecuted as either a felony DUI or a misdemeanor DUI. In some states, this type of offense that can wobble between a felony or a misdemeanor is called a “wobbler.”

After the arrest in Hillsborough County, FL, the State Attorney’s Office in Tampa will review the police reports and your prior record to determine whether the case should be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony.

In most cases, the prosecutor will make this filing decision within the first 21 days after the arrest. Therefore, in these cases, it is particularly important to hire an attorney as quickly as possible after the arrest.

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 plea for purposes of charging you with the felony DUI offense. The prosecutor might also be reluctant to file the third DUI as a felony if any of the prior convictions are particularly old or occurred out of state because obtaining the certified records are more difficult.

The Court Orders a 10 Year Driver’s License Revocation

If you are convicted of DUI offenses on three separate occasions, with the latest offense occurring within ten years of the prior conviction, then the court will impose a ten (10) year driver’s license suspension.

Florida statutes do not require an in-state DUI conviction in order to impose a ten-year revocation of driving privileges if a driver has had three convictions for DUI within a ten-year period. In fact, Fla. Stat. 322.24 provides:

“The department is authorized to suspend or revoke the license of any resident of the state, upon receiving notice of the conviction of such person in another state or foreign country of an offense therein which, if committed in this state, would be grounds for the suspension or revocation of his or her license.”

Fla. Stat. 322.28(2)(a)(3) provides in pertinent part:

“Upon a third conviction for an offense that occurs within a period for 10 years after the date of a prior conviction . . ., the driver license or driving privileges shall be revoked for at least 10 years.” and section 322.28(2)(a) provides: “for the purposes of this paragraph, a previous conviction outside this state for driving under the influence . . . will be considered a previous conviction for violation of s. 316.193.”

Article IV of the Driver License Compact provides:

“the licensing authority in the home state, for the purposes of suspension, revocation, or limitation of the license to operate a motor vehicle, shall give the same effect to the conduct reported, pursuant to article III, as it would if such conduct had occurred in the home state.” 322.44, Art.IV(1).

Consider the fact that regardless of whether the judge and the prosecutor treat the third DUI as a third DUI at sentencing, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) might still consider the offense a third DUI when imposing a suspension or revocation on your driver’s license.

If the third DUI offense that later results in a conviction occurred within ten (10) years of any prior DUI conviction listed on your driving record, then the DHSMV will trigger a ten (10) year revocation of your driver’s license (even if the court neglected to do so). This 10-year revocation will occur even if one of the DUIs occurred out of state and was not known to the court or prosecutor at the time of sentencing.

Third DUI in Florida Outside of 10 Years

The first determination is whether your newest DUI case will be considered a third DUI within ten (10) years or outside ten (10) years. The 10-year determination is made by looking at your most recent DUI conviction and determining whether it occurred within ten (10) years of your newest DUI arrest. See DHSMV Bulletin #001/2005.

Under Florida law, if the third DUI occurs outside ten (10) years of any prior DUI conviction, then you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor offense. The penalties and punishments are generally the same as a first DUI, except that the statutory maximum jail term is 12 months, and the ignition interlock device is required for two years.

Third DUI in Florida Within 10 Years

If the third DUI occurs within ten (10) years of any prior DUI, then under Florida law, the prosecutor has the discretion to charge the offense as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If the offense is charged as a felony, it is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The court must also impose a 10-year driver’s license revocation.

Even if the prosecutor charges the offense as a third DUI within ten (10) years as a misdemeanor, the following penalties apply:

  • Jail Time: At least 30 days with at least 48 hours being served consecutively and up to 364 days in jail;
  • Fine: At least $2,000 but up to $5,000 (with a blood or breath alcohol reading of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle, then the fine will not be less than $4,000);
  • Vehicle Impoundment: The court must order the vehicle to be impounded for ninety (90) days;
  • Driver’s License Revocation: For a third DUI conviction, the court must impose a minimum ten (10) years revocation and not eligible for a hardship reinstatement for at least the first two years;
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device: The court must impose a requirement that you install the ignition interlock device for at least twenty-four months;
  • DUI School: The court will require the driver to complete DUI school as a condition of probation, which includes both classroom instruction, a substance abuse evaluation, and completion of any recommended follow-up treatment.

Hardship Reinstatement after a 10 Year Revocation

If you have a 10-year revocation after a DUI conviction triggered by §322.28(2)(a)(3) and §322.271(2)(c), then before you are eligible for reinstatement for hardship purposes, you must do the following:

  • serve two years of the revocation; and
  • completion of DUI school.

If you meet those requirements, then you can submit an application for a hardship license to the DHSMV.

This article was last updated on Friday, April 29, 2022.