Keep in mind that the potential penalties for a felony DUI in Okaloosa or Walton County are not the same thing as what you may realistically be facing in terms of sentencing sanctions.
While a person convicted of a 3rd DUI within 10 years (or other third degree felony) faces the prospect of up to FIVE years in prison, and a $5000 fine, this is only a maximum sentence.
Other DUI sanctions on a third degree felony may include:
- PROBATION: UP TO 5 YEARS
- DRIVERS’S LICSENSE SUSPENSION: 10 YEARS – PERMANENT
- FINES: $2000.00-$5000.00
- IGNITION INTERLOCK: UP TO 2 YEARS
- VEHICLE IMPOUND: 30 DAYS
- MULTI-OFFENDER DUI SCHOOL
- COMMUNITY SERVICE WORK
- VICTIM IMPACT PANEL
- RANDOM BREATH AND URINE TESTS
The truth is that there are quite a range of possible results in a felony DUI case. Perhaps your attorney can get the felony charges reduced to a misdemeanor or find a path to a dismissal. Or maybe on a more difficult case, your attorney can help you turn a prospective prison sentence in to a probationary one.
Of the thousands of felony drunk driving arrests I have represented clients on over the years, I can honestly tell you that FELONY DUIs are the type of criminal cases where an experienced attorney can make a world of difference.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE MATTERS
Felony DUI penalties can vary greatly between different county jurisdictions throughout Florida. That means that a defendant may receive drastically different sentences for example, between Okaloosa County and Broward County; or even between neighboring Florida counties like Okaloosa and Walton.
This can all depend on local politics and media exposure since State Attorney’s and Circuit Judges are both elected. That is why you should select the best criminal defense attorney that has knowledge of the specific prosecutors and Judges; one that knows what to expect during the litigation process, as well as what to do in a potential jury trial.
As discussed earlier, the second category of felony DUI cases are DUI with Serious Bodily Injury or Great Bodily Harm and DUI Manslaughter. DUI with Serious Bodily Injury is a third degree felony while DUI Manslaughter is a second degree felony with a 4 year minimum mandatory prison sentence as charged with a 15 year maximum sentence.
And since Florida law allows the prosecution to “stack” the charges without triggering Double Jeopardy, a person could be charged with multiple felony DUI counts even with a single accident, therefore raising sentencing exposure.
Florida sentencing guidelines also allow for sentencing points to exceed the statutory maximum prison term. This means that if the points of your charges (plus any prior record) combined with victim injury points are calculated to a total number beyond the max sentence, then the calculated sentence could eclipse even a supposed maximum penalty!
I work very hard at protecting my clients against extreme sentencing exposure. It is vitally important to get the criminal charges distilled down to the least amount of potential jail time before proceeded jury trial or entering any sentencing stage.
If you or a family member has been arrested for felony DUI in Fort Walton Beach, Destin or anywhere else in Okaloosa County or Walton County Florida, call me at (850) 362-6655 for a FREE consultation.