Anyone who is going to head out to spend time with family and friends for the upcoming holidays should remember to find a sober ride home if they plan on having alcohol. Taking the chance of being able to make it home after having a few drinks comes with potential penalties that are very serious. Florida’s drunk driving law are strict, so avoiding charges is always the best option for drivers.

You are considered impaired if your blood alcohol level is .08% or above based on a chemical test. If you are convicted of this crime, you face fines of at least $500 on a first conviction. This can increase to a minimum of $1,000 if there are extenuating circumstances.

In Florida, a person who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15% or greater or one who has a minor in the vehicle is subjected to greater penalties. These extenuating circumstances can make a big difference on subsequent convictions.

Florida laws set greater penalties for all drunk driving convictions after the first one. There isn’t a maximum time between a first and second conviction. If you have a third conviction for an incident that occurs within 10 years of the second offense, you face enhanced penalties. Fourth and higher convictions also have increased penalties.

You can be sent to jail or prison, have your vehicle impounded, incur fines and have to deal with other penalties if you are arrested for drunk driving. Your driver’s license can also be suspended. On a first offense, you will lose your license for 180 days to one year if there isn’t any bodily injury associated with the incident. A person who does cause bodily injury will face a minimum of three years without a driver’s license.

Because the penalties are so severe, you should learn about your defense options and rights if you are facing a drunk driving charge. This can help you to determine how to address it.