First DUI in Pinellas County

Florida’s DUI statute requires that the court impose certain minimum mandatory penalties after a conviction. The courts in Pinellas County also have the discretion to impose harsher penalties up to the statutory maximum.

The best way to avoid those consequences is to get the DUI reduced to a lesser charge or dropped completely.

You might be eligible for the Pinellas County D.R.O.P. diversion program for a first DUI. If you are allowed into the program, the prosecutor will reduction of the DUI to reckless driving in exchange for completing enhanced sanctions that might include an ignition interlock device.

Diversion is unavailable even for a first DUI if your case involves any of the following aggravated factors:

  • a BAC over .15;
  • a child passenger was in the car;
  • a crash causing property damage;
  • your driver’s license was suspended at the time of the stop; you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL); or
  • you have a specified prior record.

Our attorneys are familiar with the standard operating procedures of the DUI enforcement units of law enforcement agencies throughout Pinellas County, FL, including:

  • Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office;
  • St. Petersburg Police Department;
  • Clearwater Police Department;
  • Pinellas Park Police Department;
  • Largo Police Department;
  • Tarpon Springs Police Department;
  • Gulfport Police Department;
  • Kenneth City Police Department;
  • Treasure Island Police Department; and
  • Florida Highway Patrol.

Attorney for First DUI in Pinellas County

If you were arrested for a First DUI in Pinellas County, FL, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients charged with DUI and fight charges for having a BAC over .15 or property damage.

We understand how to challenge the results of a breath, urine, or blood test. Those test results estimate the level of alcohol in your blood or the presence of controlled substances.

Whether you were arrested by a deputy with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol, or an officer with a local police department, we can help.

Sammis Law Firm’s main office is in downtown Tampa, FL. We have an office in Clearwater near the CJC Courthouse. Visit our office at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820. 

Don’t face the judge alone. Contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers for any drunk or impaired driving offense in Pinellas County, FL.

Call 727-210-7004. 

First DUI Penalties in Pinellas County, FL

This chart lists the penalties for a first DUI in Pinellas County, FL, depending on how the crime is charged.



1st DUI BAC below .15 $983.00 §316.193(2)(a) 12 months §316.193(6)(a) 6 months to 1 yr §322.28(2)(a)1 Up to 6 months §316.193(2)(a)2.a 10 days §316.193(6) (a-c) DUI School, Evaluation & Treatment, 50 hrs Community Service
1st DUI w/BAC .15 or higher or child passenger $1,518.00 §316.193(4)(a) 12 months §316.193(6)(a) 6 months to 1 yr §322.28(2)(a)1 Up to 9 months §316.193(4)(b)1 10 days §316.193(6) (a-c) DUI School, Evaluation & Treatment, 50 hrs Community Service, six months Ignition Interlock

Frequently Asked Questions in Florida DUI Cases

How much does a DUI lawyer cost in Pinellas County, FL, for a first DUI?

The typical attorney fees for a first DUI in Pinellas County include representation:

  • in the criminal case in court; and
  • the administrative formal review hearing at the DHSMV.

Those attorney fees might run between $4,000 and $6,500. The fees are substantially lower if you are eligible for the D.R.O.P diversion program for a first UDI. The fees are higher if you have any prior DUI convictions, a BAC over .15, a crash with property damage or personal injury, or a child passenger.

How likely is jail time for a first DUI in Pinellas County, FL?

If you are willing to resolve your case short of trial, the chances of receiving jail time at sentencing are extremely unlikely. Most misdemeanor DUI cases can be resolved without jail time.

Even if you go to trial and the jury returns a “guilty” verdict, no jail time is required for a first DUI.

The more important consideration for most people after a DUI arrest is avoiding a DUI conviction and the minimum mandatory penalties and collateral consequences that go along with the conviction.

What happens when you get your first DUI in Pinellas County, Florida?

After an arrest for a first DUI in Pinellas County, FL, you only have ten days to hire an attorney who can help you contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. Your attorney can also represent you at the arraignment.

In most cases, your attorney will enter a written plea of not guilty and waive the formal arraignment. If you cannot afforded to hire a private attorney, you must attend the arraignment to enter a “not guilty” plea and ask for an attorney to be appointed to represent you.

Can a DUI be dismissed in Pinellas County, FL?

Yes, a DUI might be dismissed in Pinellas County, FL, for any number of reasons, including:

  • no lawful basis for the initial traffic stop;
  • prolonged detention before the arrest;
  • no probable cause for the arrest; or
  • insufficient evidence of impairment from alcohol or drugs.

Evidence might be suppressed if you were not read the Miranda warnings or implied consent warning before any alleged refusal to submit to testing of your breath, urine, or blood.

Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI in Florida?

Yes, suppose you either refused to submit to a breath test, blood test, or urine test or had a BAC over .08. In that case, the arresting office can seize your driver’s license and trigger an administrative suspension that might last for six (6) months to eighteen (18) months depending on whether you have any prior administrative or court ordered suspensions for DUI on your driving record.

After the arrest, you have only ten (10) days to demand a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. We can help you file that demand and represent you at the hearing.

Additional Resources

DUI School for First Offense in Pinellas – Learn more about the Level 1 DUI Program registration process offered at two (2) locations or pre-registration online. The fee is $326.50 for the DUI Level I Drug and Alcohol Education Course in Pinellas County and includes twelve (12) hours of classroom instruction and an evaluation. To register for the DUI School at SunCoast Safety Counsel, you must live, work, or attend school in Pinellas County. The following documents are needed for registration: photo ID, the DUI citation, any crash report, the results of any chemical test of the breath, blood, or urine, or a refusal affidavit.

This article was last updated on Friday, May 19, 2023.