No matter what you’ve been arrested for in Fort Walton Beach, you are probably scared about the possibility of going to jail. Maybe you had to spend a night in jail when you were arrested and you’re terrified about having to go back.

I decided to write this blog about jail sentences in DUI cases because it’s a question I get a lot when I meet with DUI clients.

Obviously, every case is different, but what follows is an overview of First, Second, and Third DUI cases in Fort Walton Beach, and when jail time is a realistic possibility.

First Offense DUIs

Some unethical attorneys will try to scare you into hiring them by telling you that you are facing a jail sentence for a first offense DUI in Fort Walton Beach. The truth is, in 99.9% of first offense DUI cases, you will not be sentenced to jail if you enter a plea without going to trial. There are a lot of good reasons to hire an attorney for a first offense DUI, but avoiding jail time is usually not one of them.

In Florida, the maximum jail sentence you could receive for a first offense DUI is six months, but as I said, this is very unlikely.

One question that I get a lot is whether a DUI or drunk driving charge in another state can be used a prior offense. The answer is YES. If you were ever convicted of a drunk driving charge in any state, no matter how long ago it was, the State of Florida will count that as a previous conviction.

Second Offense DUIs

If the arrest date of your current DUI was within five years of the conviction date of your prior DUI, you are facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence of ten days. If your prior conviction was more than five years ago, there is no mandatory jail sentence, but the potential maximum sentence is one year in jail.

Third Offense DUIs

This is where things start to get very serious. If your third DUI occurred within ten years of your last one, the prosecutor can file this DUI as a third-degree felony with a potential five-year prison sentence. Regardless of whether the case gets filed in misdemeanor or felony court, you face a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in jail.

What Can You Do to Help Me?

As an attorney who only practices DUI and Criminal Defense, my most important duty is to do everything possible to keep my clients out of jail. It’s a responsibility I lose sleep over because my client and their family is looking to me to preserve their freedom.

I can’t promise what the eventual outcome will be in your case, but I will promise you this: If you entrust me with your defense, I will do everything possible to win your case and keep you out of jail.

Contact an Okaloosa County DUI Attorney

If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 403-6835 for a free consultation.