Getting a DUI in Florida: What to Expect

On November 28, 2010, two days after my 41st birthday, I was at a Christmas festival with my mother. Over the course of the night—about six hours—I proceeded to drink six glasses of wine and a Belgian beer. I then got behind the wheel of my car and drove home. As I was turning into my subdivision I ran my vehicle through a brick wall. The crash was so loud it woke up my entire family (including my two children), who were sleeping four houses down from the scene of the accident. I was so intoxicated that at the time I thought I had run into a bush and was confused as to why the entire front half of my car was smashed in. At this point, you are probably thinking something along the lines of, "What a dumbass" and rightly so. To be honest, anyone who drinks and drives is a bit of an idiot considering the consequences when a $30 cab ride was all it would have taken to avoid the situation. That said, if you find yourself in this situation here is what you have to look forward to over the next year of your life.

Police car with emergency lights on (CC BY 2.0).
Police car with emergency lights on (CC BY 2.0). | Source

At the Scene and Arrest

Once the police are at the scene you will be questioned, handcuffed, and taken down to the station. Here’s what comes next:

  • The police will ask you to take a breathalyzer test which I now know is highly inadvisable. In my opinion, if you have had over two drinks, refuse this test. In my case, I was trying to be cooperative and ended blowing a .2 which made it a whole new ballgame. .

  • Once they have determined you are eligible for arrest you will be put into the "drunk tank" where you will sit for about three hours with anyone else who was arrested that night.

  • During this time they will also take your mugshot which immediately goes on the Internet.

  • You will most likely be asked to change into prison garb at this time, be handcuffed, and taken to general population.
  • You will also be asked if you want to have a public defender. I recommend saying no. If you do sign up for this and later change your mind you will be charged $50.
  • Eventually you will be allowed to leave. In my case it was 6pm that evening.
  • You will be allowed to make a phone call which should be to anyone who can and will post bail for you—round $200 to $500 (it is usually 10% of the actual bail).

  • At some point during all of this you will appear before a judge who will set your bail and future court date.

By now, some of the shock will be wearing off and the magnitude of your situation will start to set in. Feelings of remorse, guilt, humiliation, and fear will take over.

Hiring a Lawyer

In my opinion, if finances allow it, hire a lawyer immediately.

  • It will cost around $4500 and may or may not help in the end, but the mental support a lawyer will give you is extremely beneficial to get you through what will probably be one of the most stressful times in your life.

  • Shop around, as many lawyers will work with you on payment plans. Mine accepted $2000 up front and then deducted $1000 from my total because he was not able to have my charge reduced.

Any form of support during this time will be welcome, as you will soon find out that very few people are going to be sympathetic. Instead, many will be judging you harshly. You will quickly learn who your true friends are.

Losing Your License and Obtaining a Hardship License

About ten days after your DUI, your license will be taken away. Following that, you will have a hearing with the DMV, who will decide if you are able to get it back before your court date or if you will have to apply for a "hardship" license. If you have a lawyer he or she will go to this for you. If you took a breathalyzer and were above the legal limit it is highly unlikely you will get your driving privileges back at this time.

  • Regardless of the outcome of the DMV hearing, there is a 30-day sit-out period when you will not be able to drive at all.
  • During this time you will want to enroll in the eight-hour driving class which costs $250. The DMV will require proof of enrollment before they grant you a hardship license.

  • After your 30 days you will call the DMV and set up a formal "hearing." Because Florida has so many DUI cases right now this is done over the phone. The people are very nice and the phone hearing lasts about five minutes, after which you will be able to go down to the DMV and obtain a hardship license. This is going to cost another $244.
  • The confusing thing about this phase of your DUI is that no one is going to tell you exactly where you can and cannot drive. Your are absolutely allowed to drive to work and church. Anywhere else—like the grocery store—is up to the officer who pulls you over. This is just one of the many frustrations you will encounter while trying to get through your DUI.
  • According to my lawyer, you are absolutely allowed to go to the grocery store but always be sure to get a receipt with the time and date. However, certain police officers would not consider this as something that affects your "livelihood" and would make you appear in court. While most judges will dismiss this, you will still end up paying court costs as well as going through the hassle of another court date. My advice is to drive as little as possible.

You will notice that you get pulled over much more these days because your tag shows that you were arrested for a DUI.

DUI Traffic School and Counseling

I highly recommend enrolling in traffic school for DUI-offenders as soon as you can. Here's what to expect:

  • The first step will be an evaluation to determine if you will be ordered to go to counseling. While it is tempting to lie on this evaluation, do not put too much effort into it because it is almost guaranteed that you will be ordered to go to at least three months of therapy.
  • As for the eight-hour class you must attend, I personally found it to be very informative and rewarding, though others I talked to felt it was painfully boring. Whatever your feelings are, you have to take it, so get it over with as soon as possible.
  • One warning: You will be tested for drug and alcohol use during class so be very careful. If you test positive then you will be thrown out of class and have to pay the fee all over again. While this sounds like common sense, two people in my class were sent home because of drinking so it must not be that obvious to everyone.

Breathalyzer test (CC BY 2.0).
Breathalyzer test (CC BY 2.0). | Source

Preparing to Go to Court

  • Between getting arrested and potentially going to court, your lawyer will be doing "investigation" for your case. This is where he goes over your arrest with a fine-toothed comb, looking for even the slightest mistake made by the police.
  • In my case, unfortunately, there was nothing to be found. I have heard, however, that many people get off because the officers didn't have their breathalyzer certification up to date or the machines had glitches.
  • This process takes a little over a month and you will be given a report of what was found. Once this is completed you and your lawyer will meet to go over your case and take what he thinks is the best course of action.
  • It's important to be realistic and realize your lawyer may be trying to paint a rosier picture than how things actually are. If you blew over a .15 blood-alcohol volume and the police department had all their ducks in a row it is unlikely you are going to get off on a reckless driving charge.
  • Your lawyer will most likely try to persuade the prosecution to drop your charges to the penalty for a .15 or below. If you blew a .20 or above, however, there is no hope that this will happen unless there were serious mistakes on the police department's end.

Taking a Plea or Going to Trial

Your lawyer will have a meeting with the prosecution to determine if you will plead guilty and take a or go to trial. Generally, the sentence you receive in exchange for the plea will be less than what you'd receive if found guilty at trial.

  • This is where having a lawyer who is rooted in the community and has a lot of connections could be very beneficial. If your lawyer is dealing with friends your chances of a good plea deal are much higher. This was not the case in my situation.
  • Take the time to find out who your judge is, as there is a huge variety of opinions on drunk drivers in the courts. My judge considered DUI offenders up there with animal- and child- abusers so I was walking a very thin line.

I was given no breaks despite never having a ticket in my life prior to this DUI. Had I gone to trial I most likely would have had to serve jail time because the judge felt she needed to make examples of people like me. Thus it was in my best interest to accept a plea bargain.

Going to Court

I would advise you not to put off your court date for two reasons:

  • First, the judges seem to find people who clog up the courts with rescheduling bothersome and will be less lenient in the long run.
  • Second, your sentence starts the day of your hearing, not the day of your DUI, so it is best to get it over with and move on.

Although the court hearing is brief and really not a huge deal, I found it somewhat traumatic and mentally draining. Standing in front of a courtroom full of people and a judge while saying, "Guilty, Your Honor," and then hearing a long list of punishments was hard. That being said, it's also the beginning of the end, so it's a huge milestone in your DUI.

My Sentence

Here is the punishment I received and what you can expect for a first-time DUI with a high blood alcohol level of .15 or above:

  • Three months of counseling at $135 per month.

  • 12 mandatory Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

  • Required to call a number on Sunday through Thursday to see if I was to report for a random alcohol test the next morning. You will be assigned a color and if your color is called you must go the next day for a urine test and pay $15. My color comes up at least once a week, but I think this is unusual because many people report only having to do this twice a month

  • Installment of an ignition interlock breathalyzer on my car for six months. This is $160 to install which includes the first-month fee, and then $72.50 per month.

  • Required to have FR 44 insurance for three years at $244 per month.

  • Required to have my car immobilized for ten days for $100

  • Fifty hours of community service. I did mine at Goodwill which clocks every single second. I have heard that parks-and-recreation departments are much more lax.

  • A $1000 fine.

  • $834 in court costs.

  • Meet with a probation officer monthly. This cost $70 for the first time and $55 every time after.

  • Take a two-hour victims awareness class for $40

  • No alcohol for six months to a year
  • License revoked immediately after court. Applying for a new hardship license cost $100.

One frustrating thing about all of this is that you are going to be required to start doing a lot of this immediately, like calling in and appearing for alcohol testing as well as meeting your probation officer. But you are not allowed to drive. It is what it is. The court has absolutely no concern for your convenience. My advice is just to accept it and figure something out. At first I was angry over the injustice of this but it didn't change a thing and I simply had to find someone willing to drive me around. Planning ahead can go a long way in reducing stress while you're on probation.

Interlock ignition breathalyzer (CC BY-SA 3.0).
Interlock ignition breathalyzer (CC BY-SA 3.0). | Source

Tips for Carrying Out the Sentence

The punishment I received had to be completed in a year, but if I finished everything by the six-month mark I could be released from my probation at that time. My sentence was fairly typical, though I have had heard of worse, such as two years of driving with an ignition breathalyzer, a $2000 fine, and 150 hours of community service, all for a first-time DUI. On the other hand, if you blew below the .15 mark you most likely will not have to have the interlock device or have to call in nightly.

As for the punishments, they are all punitive. You will quickly realize DUIs are all about money rather than rehabilitation.

  • The group therapy is a joke. Our money is collected, we take roll, we read an article out of the paper, and then we go home.
  • The ignition breathalyzer is a bit of a nightmare, but I am learning to deal with it. It has a lot of quirks and it not incredibly reliable. That being said. if you have to have one on your car I would advise you to learn how to use it and drive only when necessary.
  • My probation officer does nothing but collect my money and say, "I don't know" to any question I ask.
  • Community service really isn't too bad. My suggestion is to see what is out there and go with an organization that supports something you believe in. It doesn't have to be picking up trash on the side of the road. A lot of people actually end up finding employment from their community-service hours, so don't just write it off as something dreadful.
  • One thing no one explained to me was that your license revocation ends before your probation does. In August I will be able to drive freely again despite the fact that I will have one more month of the interlock device on my car, as well as having to do my other probation requirements.
  • The time you are required to have the interlock on your car actually starts once you get your hardship license—which you cannot get without the interlock—not the date when the device is installed. My original plan was to have the device installed and simply not drive for six months. Unfortunately this isn't how it works.
  • Just getting started on your sentence is going to cost you around $500, so be prepared.
  • For your own peace of mind, get started fulfilling your sentence as soon as possible so that you feel like you are making progress towards completing this nightmare. I personally knocked my community service out first because it was free to do and I felt a huge relief when I was done. I then had the interlock installed and got my hardship license so that I could have a definite date that I knew it would be over. Next, I figure I will knock out having my car impounded for 10 days, though I'm still not sure what purpose this punishment serves except to have you spend more money.
  • One last warning: You will need to shop around immediately for your FR 44 insurance because the DMV will charge you an additional $150 to get your hardship license if you do not get this within about a month. There is a huge variety of prices out there. Some insurance companies will quote you $2500 up front every six months, while others will charge you around $200 a month without having to pay a huge up-front cost.

Final Thoughts: Staying Positive and Moving On

In the end, if I can at least make this awful experience a little easier for anyone I will be happy. Here's what I've learned:

  • From my experience, the best asset you can have is perspective. I had to start seeing my arrest as a blessing in disguise. I could have killed someone or myself and since I'll never do this again, I now will never have to live with that.
  • I personally have stopped drinking which has created its own benefits in my life. This combined with the fact that I am actually getting through everything without a nervous breakdown (yet) has made me a much stronger and resourceful person. I rarely judge people anymore as I have been so harshly judged during this whole process.
  • You will get through this, but it takes diligence and the right attitude. Learn from it and make sure you have a plan going forward when you are in situations that involve alcohol and driving. I met plenty of people along the way who were arrested for sleeping drunk in their cars simply because they had their keys on them. I also met a lot of people who were on their second or third DUI. The return rate for offenders is somewhere around 40%. This is partially due to the fact you will find yourself profiled by police from here on out and have a much higher chance of getting pulled over after your first DUI.
  • Realize that as bad as your situation is, it could always be worse. Learn to say "it is what it is" and move on. I wasted a lot of energy getting angry over the fact that the laws were set up solely to punish and make money off drunk drivers as opposed to rehabilitating them to prevent future occurrences. I eventually realized that unless I wanted to get involved with trying to fight them I needed to just accept what I had to do and get on with my life.

As horrible and hopeless as it seems you will get through it, as countless others have. Your job now is to make sure it never happens again. Sometimes the worst things in life are actually the best things in life; it just depends on how you look at them.

Before you leave a nasty comment on what a horrible person I am for driving drunk, please save your energy. I have felt every angle of remorse, guilt, and shame possible. I am fully aware of what I did and accept full responsibility for my actions, and have learned from my mistake.

ps- If you feel compelled to leave a nasty comment on what a horrible person I am and how I deserve to burn in hell for driving drunk- please save your energy. I have felt every angle of remorse, guilt and shame over this possible. I am fully aware of what I did and accept full responsibility for my actions.

Comments 80 comments

Bail Up ! profile image

Bail Up ! 5 years ago

I know the process all too well not because I've been charged with a DUI but because the nature of my business. Your account is right on, Hope you can deter others from making this costly mistake. Look at it this way, it could have always been worse. Be grateful you didn't harm yourself or another.

Julia Worthington profile image

Julia Worthington 5 years ago from Melbourne, Florida Author

Thanks for your comment. Yes I would be happy if I could deter anyone from making the same mistake I did. I dont think the general public is aware of how stiff the penalties for a first time dui are- definitely worth a cab ride home!

BN 4 years ago

I cannot tell you how useful this post is... I'm just starting to go through this hell and the wonderful perspective you bring to the process is really helpful. I too, have learnt my lesson and I will accept that I did something that is morally unforgiveable and move past the inherent unjustness of the system with a hope of a brighter future. Thank you and God bless you!

Rachel 4 years ago

My boyfriend just got his first DUI and had a BAC of 0.20% yikes!!! There's one question that I need answered that I cant find though. He didn't have his licenses when he got the DUI last month. As in he has never had his licenses due to the fact that he never got one. How can this make his situation worse?

Julia Worthington profile image

Julia Worthington 4 years ago from Melbourne, Florida Author

Hi Rachel, I can only make an educated guess about this situation but it really depends on whether he plans to get a drivers liscense at some point. When I was arrested, my liscense was actually expired by 2 days (I thought I had until the end of my birthday month). My lawyer was able to get these charges dropped, basically because my punishment was so hefty for the dui. The majority of the cost of a dui is trying to get your driving privilages back. It cost me $500 to have my liscense reinstated, another $500 in classes, $80 a month for a breathalizer on my car- etc etc. If he does want to eventually get a liscense, he should probabally hire a lawyer so this charge will be dropped- otherwise it will most likely be a fine and additionally classes. I wish him luck, he will get through it eventually I swear!

Diana 4 years ago

Thank you for writing this. My son received a DUI and I passed this on to him so that we both know what to expect. Very Helpful Thank you

Steve D. 4 years ago

I got a DUI back on 4/10/1996. At the hearing, I thanked the officer for pulling me over. He saved my life and possibly other peoples. What I have done to make sure this never happens again is stay sober. My sobriety date is 4/11/1996 and my life is unbelievabley better. Oh, and by the way, if you refuse the breathalizer, you are considered automatically guilty and lose you're license for a minimum of 1 year.

fawn 3 years ago

i got a dui my lis was suspened in begining of aug and my lis expired in the middle of aug and i blew ... so the say if u blow u have a 6 month supsension so iin 6 months do i get my actual lis or a hardship ...

Mike 3 years ago

which company did you have for the FR-44 especially with the 244 per month? i have a car that im financing, look like i have to give up the car so i can get non-owner fr-44 for 3 years to save money for the long run

Joe A. 3 years ago

Hi Julia,

Can you please elaborate a bit more on your coverage at the time of the occurrence ..did you have 100/300/50?

Who did you find was able to provide the best rate upon acquiring the fr-44 insurance

Joe A. 3 years ago


Please let us that are in need of an fr44 filing as to who you were capable of acquiring your insurance through. It would be much appreciated as looking around and acquiring quotes I'm sure has put not only myself back in my chair but probably put others on their backs.

I look forward to your response.

ChaseW 3 years ago


This was very very informative Thank You! I just revived a DUI and ended up blowing a .20 but i didn't get charged with reckless driving. Do think there will be jail time involved? I was told it was possible. I am a nervous wreck. Anything will help thank you!

John J. 3 years ago


Could you please answer the proposed questions as I am sure that your answers could prove to be beneficial to all.

Thanks in advance.

John J. 3 years ago

Chase W.

I am going to offer my thoughts regarding your case as it seems that the questions within the blog rarely get answered.

You left many details out so I will give my input based upon your question .

If this is your first DUI that was the charge. If your attorney,and hope you have a good one. I suggest you pick one with many years of experience within the jurisdiction the infraction occurred. If he or she knows the prosecutor or DA personally you may be able to get the DUI reduced to reckless driving or maybe noble prosse. I don't know your case, but hope you didn't talk at all and if it were your first I would have refused to submit...that would have bettered your chances and you could have gotten a restricted license after three months. If you failed terribly on the sobriety and looked horrible on video,well hope for the best. If you do plead no contest or lose at trial the judge could impose an IID if convicted and potential probation aside from court cost,fines,community service etc. Not likely and highly improbable that you will get jail time, so don't sweat that.

If you just got the DUI than make sure you get the best attorney in hopes that you will not have your license suspended, but since you blew I don't believe that will apply.

The two biggest obstacles are that you will be considered a high risk driver and if you we're lucky enough to have had max coverage at the time and also lucky to be with an insurer won't drop you if convicted than your insurance won't go up too much. If you have a car still insured,keep it that way because if you don't have it you will pay extra for a lapse in coverage. Pray that you are with an insurer who files fr44 or you will be told to get it elsewhere. Now if you did not have maximum coverage be ready for the real costs as your insurance with fr44 will set you back in your seat if not put you flat on your back. Be certain to shop around alot, they all say they have the best rates. I suggest you fight it if you are certain you have the right attorney who really knows the ropes. They all claim they do so, so shop and ask alot of questions. Ask other attorneys via phone to determine the reps of each. The right friends in the Da's office can go a long way. Also bargain your attorneys costs and ask if he or she says plead no contest insist upon a refund as you can do that on your own. Remember you are hiring a defense atty. not a prosecutor from the DA's office. Upon selecting an atty (take all the upcoming flyers you will most certainly get) go direct to the courthouse and research his or her case history before you pay anyone. Please keep up the post as it can potentially be useful to all. Hope all goes well for you, but it will pass. That's the inevitable.

Your now hiring those and going to be dealing with those involved in the good ole boys club. It's all about the money!

John J. 3 years ago


Forgot to mention that if convicted or you plead no contest your license could be suspended

John J. 3 years ago


It would be great if you could just tell all of us who you acquired the insurance through. It really would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You.

John J. 3 years ago

To Chase W,

Julia didn't mention psychological counseling which will almost 99 and 100 percent of the time which will be mandated by the driving school who will do an evaluation. Ask for all locations as they vary in price. If you are a vet you can get your councils g through the V.A. Or from an outside licensed psychologist that has to be licensed by the state. The traffic school will send out a form to the professional asking for a treatment plan and anticipated time frame for this. Upon finishing counciling which will first off need to be accepted by the traffic school a certificate or letter to them will be required upon completion.

They have also implemented a M.A.D.D. Class one time at another cost to sit in front of a number of bitter angry people who tell their stories. Those who spoke at my class were all ex sixtyish hippies who more than likely did drugs, drank and am sure most drove while under the influence. It's these angry people whohave heard of or lost someone in their family or knew of. In some cases deaths occurred as a result of their own children's negligence. If their child or other had survived than they would be angry with the system for the exorbitant costs associated with a DUI. You pay to listen to their anger when they most probably had committed the same actions of you or I, they just never got caught. I do believe that drinking and driving is not something one should practice at anytime and yes deaths could occur. The M.A.D.D Organization has strong lobbyists who are obviously paying the right legislators to impose harsher penalties. Note that I know many persons past and present who range from lawyers to judges to government officials and most are bigger drunks than most anyone I know. That of course does not relate to all. Rest assured that if you we're carrying a badge that they in most cases would have let you go on your merry way. Driving is actually a right and not a privilege according to the fourteenth amendment, but so much for constitutional rights...they are slowly being stripped from us supposed free individuals. The exception to the right to use the roadways for anything other than personal use would be for profits for commercial use. You truly do not need a license or registration nor a plate if used to live your life. Be aware that you would be held financially responsible for liability. I would lie to and have tried to consult with a constitutional atty. ,the cost staggering but this case has already been won in numerous states. Wish I could find a good one who doesn't need the money to reenact our rights but. What attorney is going to deprive income from his colleagues or the states without being blacklisted. Just look up on google "is driving a right or privilege ". Certain Supreme Court justices have upheld this right and cases are noted for you to reference. The other exception to this is that you cannot drive in the commission of a crime.

Joe A. 3 years ago


I am at a lack of understanding as to why you do not answer the questions asked, since you claim to be somewhat of an expert?

You offered insight as to the ramifications that followed and your remorse and warnings to others which resulted. I don't think anyone expects nor intends to hurt themselves or others. We all are guilty of being somewhat ignorant at times.

The only real question I would like to see answered is who you were actually able to acquire the affordable fr44 through.

In. Lieu of the holiday season I think that the info would be considered a gift to all of us.

John J, 3 years ago


I just don't get as to why you started this blog. Was it to hone your writing skills or to look for sympathy. Yeah all of us are most likely embarrassed by having to go through this but we all would have found out the ramifications without you telling us. What we all need to know is only one thing and that is where you acquired such cheap fr44 insurance. It seemed as though you meant we'll initially by answering a couple of questions but never gave up the insurance info. We all may need the help and I am baffled by your lack of response. I have learned from this experience ,believe me, but I need help finding the most affordable insurance.

zim 1975 3 years ago

Joe and John, I think the reason Julia is not responding to your questions is because she has moved on from her DUI. I too wish she would respond to your quesrtions about the FR44 and the insurance as I am in the same boat. This is my first DUI and when I get to that stage of the FR 44 and the insurance, I will come back and post to let you know what I ended up with. On a side note, a friend of mine's brother is a retired police officer in Chicago. He told my friend that ton's of people of all ages and ecomonic levels get DUI's. It's so common and these are people who have never been in any trouble with the law. He said they are just regular normal people. I telling you this because it's one of those things in life that happen. I am over feeling like "scum of the earth

Joe A. 3 years ago

Moving on is a great thing but yet she took the time to try and help by conveying her story in hopes of deterring others in a helpful way. You want to help well than why not include those things that made it possible. The questions asked are for the purpose of looking for help so as we may also move forward and move on from our bad experience as well.

Keep in mind that she approves the comments before they can be posted, at least it states that after you hit post comment. It's not at all about feeling like scum and yes it is common, but I will tell you that in Florida you are labeled as any other criminal. The initial expense was enough but it's not over. So to prepare for potential added economic stress that is probably what we all need most. The ramifications initially imposed was not anything we all didn't go through and already aware of. How did she find the additional assistance, what is so hard to convey. If she in fact has moved beyond and doesn't wish to extend help well she should take the blog down. Do you think any of us ran across or looked for it if we hadn't been arrested for a DUI ? How many people in any walk of life look into finding the penalties of this nightmare before they drink? How informative is the information after the fact?


zim 1975 3 years ago

Joe, I do agree with you and although Julia did start this page to help people like you and me out, I am glad she did not delete her blog even if she no longer chooses to answer recent questions or provide additional information. I too wish she would. I too want to know about what insurance company she ended up with and the cost. I have several questions I would like answered too. I can't explain her actions. However, people like you and me who did search out this exact kind of information and did find her blog, have to opportunity to communicate with each other through posting comments to each other. At least we have a way to answer each others questions. I will come back and post to let you know what I find out regarding the insurance costs. I promise.

You are right about the "made to feel" like a criminal thing.

The cost of money this involves makes it feel like a racket too for the insurance companies, the DMV and the courts. I bet you saw a million web sites too show up on the internet when you were searching for info about getting a DUI! The lawyers must be making a ton of money.

I too went searching and found this blog. It was the closest thing I could find that dealed with a DUI in Florida about a first time DUI.

Lets try and use Julia's blog to answer each others questions. As I said, I will let you know what I find out about the insurance. I start my DUI class next week. That cost me $264.00 for two days.

Joe Schmoe 3 years ago

thought this might help some get some answers if you don't want to pay $250-300 a month for fr44 insurance for three years straight. you can take public transportation for 3 years from original suspension, then when 3 years is up, you would not be required to get the FR44..per Brandon, FL tax collector .pdf file I found online

(good luck to all. I live in florida too..been there done that)

Joe Schmoe 3 years ago

I also wanted to add (to my above comment) that you can see that you can wait out the 3 year period and be exempt from obtaining the FR44 Insurance by reading Florida Statute 324.023

(you can NOT however "wait out" the fees the DMV will charge to reinstate, about $400..and if you were required to install interlock system, there's no way around that either...that's $175 to install and from months 2 to 6 its $75 a month to recalibrate interlock...but you'd have to pay this stuff either way..if you get FR44 to get back on road right away or wait out suspension period of 3 years)

I thought some of you would like to know this also...IF you were not required to install interlock system, but still have to get FR44 insurance (again if you want to get back on road right away, or atleast w/in 3 years of the start of your suspension) can get FR44 Motorcycle Insurance for around $350-550 for a years premium..around $40 a would have to still hold that for 3 years consecutively with no lapse in coverage and you can fulfill your Certificate of Financial Responsibility 44 that way (a used, low horsepower bike..for example 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 250r should be around $1800 to buy)....the reason I say "IF you were not required to install interlock system" because they wont install the interlock device on bikes in Florida...and I don't know if you can still get liscensed for the motorcycle before having the interlock device installed on a car for 6 months??? That might be something to look into if you just got popped for the DUI recently and want to get back on the rode somehow w/out paying for FR44 Auto Insruance....

mary 3 years ago

Hi, I have been dealing with my DUI since October 2012 and it really sucks. I have finished almost everything and got my hardship liscense today March 6th. Getting ready to make my first drive in 3 months, so excited. I feel like a kid. This was a reality check for me, and I would like to say that, whoever thinks it would never happen to them, think again it can happen to anyone. And for all of you police, medical emergency, ect that work for the city or county, we know that most of you are guilty of doing the samething. The same thing you arrest others for, but you use your power of authority to get away with such acts. Reminder, your day will come, so keep that in mind the next time you have a drink or two and get behind the wheel.

John J. 3 years ago

Another tidbit regarding insurance. If you are not required to get an IID that really can work for you. You will find that a non-owners policy will be much more cost efficient and you can then drive anyones car. This is true if that other car is not registered or owned by another person using the same address. If such is the case the insurance companies charge you more figuring that you will more than likely be driving that car even if you never do. If you have a relative or friend who is willing to lend you a car and does not reside at the same address,great. You may even purchase another vehicle using another person who will register and title the car under there name,again with a different address than your own. It is perfectly legal to drive the car and as often as you wish, So you pay the minimum insurance as required by the state and the low cost of non owners insurance. Thus your cost will be thousands less than if you have to pay for a car that you personally own, again all legal. The one thing you need to ask your insurance agent is which company does not have restrictions regarding the amount of driving you can do. If you should have any waiting period (the remainder of a suspended license or revocation)after pleading or being found guilty that time will be duducted from the 3 year time frame in having to carry the FR44. Many insurance companies will tell you that you have to carry it 3 years from the time you reinstate. As the other poster mentioned,should you wait 3 years to reinstate then tyyou will not have to carry the FR44 at all. The glitch here is that choosing the right company is crucial and the way they justify charging you higher rates will be based upon how far back they look at your driving history. Geico looks back ten,Progressive 7 and others vary. Do not let any insurance agent tell you that they have a company who goes back to the date of the incident and not conviction. Remember you weren't mandated to carry the insurance until found guilty so thats inane. The type of vehicle,the horsepower,the year,the safety features and other factors like your credit rating will be considered. Based on your driving record and the company,how far back they look will then put you into a tiered category and charge you on your history again depending on how far back they look. They will do what they can to get their monies worth out of you. Progressive in some cases will charge an owner operator as much as 6k per 6 months and that can vary up or down. The reality in Fl. is that although they can only use your driving record history for three years the companies can tier you to get the rate,so in essence they have their way around it.

3 years ago

I have a question, I got my DUI knocked down to a reckless driving because i didn't take the breathalizer, I also wasn't 21 at the time of my arrest, im still about 2 months away from 21. But I was wonder, becuase I have 2 days before I get my license reinstated, how much would it cost for me to get it reinstated? I know you said 500 dollars for first timers, but does that also include someone that got it knocked down? Do I go to the DMV to get it reinstated? or the terrace building, where they distribute ID's and also where I got my hardship license?

John J. 3 years ago


Your age really doesn't matter. Suspension will last for a year because of the refusal. Since you already have a hardship you should only have to pay a small fee of about 28.00 to make the change from the date of the original suspension,not from the date you received your hardship. Expect your insurance rates to jump because of the points you will receive from the reckless. I believe it's 6 points and will affect your rates for three years from the date of the reckless. That is the date it was reported to DMV and not the date it was signed off on in court. If ever you get stopped again do not refuse or you will be without a license for 18 months and no chance for hardship.

John J. 3 years ago

Joe Schmoe,

Just to make it clear to everyone in Fl. It's 3 years from the date that DMV in Tallahassee receives notification and not the date of initial suspension.

Leeann 3 years ago

Do you definitely lose your license twice? At arrest AND at court during sentencing?

John J. 3 years ago


Need to know more details to see if I can give you the proper input,but keep in mind,I'm no expert. Situations vary. I do know of Someone who was arresested for a DUI and another charge. He refused to submit when arrested for a DUI and another charge. After three months he received a hardship but upon conviction he somehow pled the case to probation and his license was pulled for two years,so anything can change in court if convicted or a plea of no contest is given. You never know what can happen once you're in the system?

Leeann 3 years ago

Thanks, John. The details are it was my first (and last) arrest, and I did submit at the police station. I lost my license on the administrative end for 30 days and now I am on the hardship license. I go to court in a couple of weeks, and I heard that the judge can take your license again on the criminal end. I have an excellent driving record before this, and I have already completed my DUI school and evaluation, so I'm just hoping he spares me. Does anybody know about this?

John J. 3 years ago


If you haven't been convicted and are not than you have to drive with the restricted license and just re-instate your regular license for a small fee.

If you are pleading no contrast or convicted. The judge can suspend or keep your license restricted if convicted likely to have an IID mandated and probation. You want to see if your attorney can bargain for administrative probation if possible. Anything can happen in court but if convicted you may and may not lose your license or just be on a one to two year probation.

Joanne 3 years ago

I had the higher insurnce limits at time of my dui .i never received notice of having to get an fr44. If I just keep. Those limits. In place for 3 yrs does that satisfy requirement

ryanm8282 3 years ago

Being an insurance agent in Florida it's very difficult for people to get back on their feet...especially with the new FR44 laws of having to pay a policy in full without payment options. We pride ourselves in having multiple companies so if anyone ever needs honest answers feel free to contact me at Thanks, Ryan.

John j. 3 years ago

Hi Joanne,

There is a good possibility that you may not get an increase that is drastic because you had the maximum coverage at the time. You won't hear anything until your insurance co. I notified,and they may not if you're lucky. If they are not notified,well then it's going to depend on when your insurance co. runs a check. They all do this approximately every 6 mos. or at the time of policy renewal. Just don't alert them!!!

sammy2011 3 years ago

hi to all, I to made a mistake as to driving with a few drinks, 2011, have done all that I have to do, I did the non owner thing which was good but I needed my own car wife left me w/o a car so I had to buy one,

so I have a lot of information about insurance co, an prices as I have 1.5 yrs of shopping an changing company's, an I also have found a loop hole from talking to fla dmv.... if any one what advise please ask an I will let you know.

Lori 3 years ago

Sammy, Do you know of any companies that take monthly payments for the FR44? Most want payment in full. I am in Florida? Thanks.

sammy2011 3 years ago

hey, lori, try this guy I am changing my ins tomorrow, to him

877-613-5042 he is in Pembroke pines but im sure he can help,,,,

Frank Vasquez

Senior Sales Agent

Direct Number: 954-367-8021

an he does take payments


Lori 3 years ago

Thanks Sam!

Dave 3 years ago

Went through the wringer in State of Florida. Money is the key.As far as the insurance questions. Shop online just as you would before your DUI. DO NOT take first offer.Keep checking..Actually prgrogressive has a decent (although 4X) rate. Plus in Florida you have to pay 6 months upfront each time.

anonymity123 3 years ago

I feel I should share my thoughts as I am finally reaching the end of my nightmare.

My incident took place in Tampa FL. I wrecked my truck while stupidly driving intoxicated. I am not alcoholic or habitual offender and have a clean driving record prior to getting dui / reckless. I am not even much of drinker, just made a bad decision one night. Regardless if your incident is a 1 time deal the state assumes you are a drunk or becoming a drunk and its up to you to prove otherwise by jumping through all their hoops and pay everything they ask for. As Julia has mentioned, it is what it is.

Firstly. DO NOT BLOW. I cannot stress this enough. Blowing will only provide the state with more evidence against you. I didn't blow, and despite wrecking my truck and a guard rail was able to get a reckless with the help of a decent attorney. Braxton of parks and braxton was mine. No this is not a sales pitch. They are expensive, but they specialize in DUI. His Tampa rep has been working with Tampa DA for a while now and they all know each other. At least that is how it seemed based on the manner in which they were communicating in the court room.

There is zero reason to submit to the police. They really don't care about you. We do not live in a time where cops are peace officers and community servants. The majority are law enforcers. especially in larger towns and cities. I suggest you think about that for bit, law enforcement and peace keeping are not one in the same. Despite being against the law, Cops are required to make X number of contacts a month and have quotas to full fill. Most states are broke and need revenue. So that is going to be their priority, not you or what's going to happen to you. Not saying be belligerent and rude to the police as that could lead to far worse things. No one is going to take the side of a drunk driver over abusive cops. What I am saying is that you should refuse to submit as politely as possible and do not show any sign of disrespect regardless of how you really feel. Common sense goes a long way as well as thinking on your feet. Telling the cops that you are unsure of what the law is and that you don't want to do a thing until speaking with an attorney is what you should sat. That is what I did, and when my attorney watched the video of my arrest, he said that was a smart move. The consequences for not blowing are not good, but the alternative could be far worse and far more costly. The DMV will take you to the cleaners and put you through the ringer. I will not repeat all the previously mentioned costs. In 90 days, if you have a fairly clean driving history you will likely get a hardship. Again, that is what happened for me. However on the legal side of your case, you will be in better shape to get a reckless by not blowing. So your choice is a DUI for the rest of your life which includes high insurance premiums fewer job opportunities in an already hurting economy etc...or grinning and baring the 60 extra days of license suspension and having a hardship the remaining part of the year since being arrested. It's really a no brainer. Take the shorter term pain.

If you don't blow they cannot prove your BAC. Which in my case meant no mandatory interlock device, no impound, no boot on the car. All of which you have to pay for. No mandatory drug testing on my court paper work, however there is still grey area here. My understanding is that my PO can ask me to take one anyway at any time, so I sure as hell have taken no chances and will take no chances on my remaining days on probation.

I got 12 months probation, however can early complete in 3 months. I will be completing early . I finished my DUI classes and counseling sessions prior to even going to court, which will play a factor in how your PO handles you. However I got screwed on community service. They gave me 100hrs which I can only buy out of half.

All said and done, I am out 10grand between fines, and every little they make you pay for. I didn't even have to get the interlock , boot etc...If you blow, you can probably expect to spend more, not counting your new insurance premiums.

Some one asked about the judge further suspending licenses. In my case I got to keep the hardship I already had. You really need a lawyer. At the very least a lawyer can buy you time by requesting the cops provide all the evidence. Use this time to get all your DUI classes and counseling done. You will need to enroll anyway to get the hardship. In court case, the perception of you may be better in the eyes of the authorities if you got all your ducks lined up prior to your court date.

The lady after me in court, plead to reckless as well and got the exact same sentence. But keep in mind this is in Tampa. It could be different else where.

So glad this is about to be over. But I am mostly glad I didn't hurt anyone else or myself.....

mj 3 years ago

you people are a trip. It is just this simple do not drink and drive. Everyone knows not to drink and drive so if you do expect to pay the consequences whether money or feeling like a criminal. There should not be any ill feelings toward the police or the hassle of it all. Use the situation as a learning experience

Bellthru 3 years ago

Anonymity123, I'm using Braxton of Parks and Braxton also. Have my pretrial coming up in a couple weeks. I refused the breath test, but had a bottle in the car. Dunno what I'll end up with, hoping for a reckless. What do you think of Mike Braxton? And did you get treatment required or recommended on your evaluation? I'm wondering about what other punishments you got? You said the girl also got 100hrs of community service or you got so much cuz of your accident?

Bellthru 3 years ago

and Julia, this is a very helpful post. Hard to find info laid out like this.

anonymity123 3 years ago

Bellthru. You are lucky. I randomly checked this site again while looking up info if Reckless will require fr44. Some grey area here regarding reckless and required insurance. Google wet and dry reckless in FL.

Did you do the road side tests? If so, how did you perform? In my case, the trooper was careless and I wasn't even in most of the video. So that gave Braxton some more to work with despite having an accident. This will affect your case

By not blowing your chances will be better to get a reckless yes. I wish I could ease your mind and say you will get a reckless for sure, but unfortunately it doesn't always work that way. Having a bottle in the car is going to be a point for the prosecution. There are many factors that will come into play as well. Really depends on the DA and the judge in many ways.

You will be required to go to DUI school without a doubt and be told you need treatment. Since you didn't blow, that is pretty much going to get you mandatory treatment regardless how you answer the questions or how the interview goes etc...The state is broke....They are going to pump people for as much revenue as possible. DUI school and treatment are "private" businesses but they pay taxes and buy permits and this and that from the state. It's a revenue generator and the state regardless the nonsense you are going to hear going through the system. The state has given the green light to these places to get what they can get via legistlation and no body is going to be sympathetic to drunk drivers..... So expect this to cost you in excess of $5000. For me, its getting close to 8-9k and I am not quite out of the water. They will give you some crap about having a license is a privilege and in the "contract" it says you have to comply when asked to incriminate Just try to be consistent through out that process. You will be able to choose a treatment center, and your eval at the treatment center will determine how many sessions you gotta do etc. Since you have to pay for each session, I would expect no less then 12. If this is your first, you will likely get 12 sessions. There is zero incentive for your shrink to give you less sessions. That's throwing money away to them. DON'T GO TO THE PLACE IN BRANDON. Those guys make people go to AA. Do some research before your treatment eval and find a place that won't require AA. Some other DUI offenders I know were never asked to step a foot in AA. I had to do 12 AA sessions. Keep in mind the judge could still give you AA later. In my case only my "treatment" shrink required AA.

Get DUI school and treatment finished before you plea. Braxton might be able use that. Plus your Probation counsellor or officer will see that as a good thing. Having half the requirements finished ahead of time ( i have yet to meet my P. officer, only dealt with probation counselor at salvation army).

Braxton did alright. At times I felt he was maybe detached, but the reality is, these things take for ever to get through. He called me personally every time there was a new significant event. But generally he will keep pushing your court date back until he can get ALL the evidence. Most of the waiting will be on the cops of course providing their evidence.

What ever you do, do not get into any more trouble in the meanwhile. don't drive. If you get caught driving while your license is suspended. Reckless if off the table for sure.

Here is the quick and easy of what I had to go through and what I still have to do

The judge decides your punishment. I had Judge Conrad. He is lenient with the lawyers and granted more time every time Braxton asked for it. But to me he seems a little harsh on the punishment. At least when I compare to what i got to the punishment other people i know got. I know people who got DUIs not reckless and got 25 hours of CC and they even wrecked multiple cars. They were even allowed to buy out of all of it. My accident i only wrecked my truck and a side rail.

DUI school (3 classes and they are LONG. Like all day kind of long. Luckily my teach was interesting). I think this was like 2-300 bones.

Treatment 12 sessions. 1 hour a piece. 10 group. 2 one on one. And you pay for each lol. The one on ones are more money..... 30-40 bones for the groups and I think 75 for one on one.

AA 12 meetings. Free. This is what you make of it. 1 hour a piece.

$1000 Court fees. You can have your bond go straight to this

12 months probation,can early complete in 3 months if all stipulations met

100 hours of community service. can buy off half @$10/hr. This is the worst part for me.I chose a state park, they are usually lax. But you have to choose one and stick with that one place. You can go to 2 different places. You can choose a different place, but that will require going back to the salvation army place and filling out more paper wor. Then you can only go to that one place...its stupid. And you have to go in at the start time. usually 8am You cannot go in at like 12 or the afternoon. Its stupid. They even make you buy insurance for this. And you are required to work minimum 4 hours each time. If you are like me and work a full time job as well as run a business on the side, its going to REALLY suck.

Have to take a 4 hour driving class, and pay for that as well. 200-300 bones

$500, to re-instate my license. Still has not happened yet.

Most of my costs went to the Braxton. But I feel he did a decent job and was worth it to me. I paid him 5k. He's a chill guy, you can probably shoot the ish with him on the phone.

I am not sure of the details of the case for the lady who went after me in court. All i know is she got the exact same punishment when pleading to wreckless.

I have a friend who got a reckless and his situation was way worse then mine. He was driving a friends car and hit someone driving a rental, in front of a cop. He got off on a reckless. He didn't blow or comply to road side. But that was a few years ago. I was kind of using that as a barometer.

Take up a hobby or invest more time into your current hobbies. Do what ever you have to do to occupy your mind. The worst part for me about this whole experience was just thinking and dwelling about it.

bellthru 3 years ago

Anonymity123, I typed up another reply and hit post, but I guess it didn't go through cuz it's not showing.

I'm feeling lucky you hit up this site again. I really appreciate you going into detail like that. I think I'm gonna find out this week if I'm getting a reckless plea. My pretrial is next week.

I have already been to DUI school. I got "treatment recommended, but not required," during my evaluation. Basically the only two questions that flagged me as an 'addict' are that I admitted to having a hangover once in my life and then that I refused the breath test. Those were the only two flags. I actually lied on the very first question saying I drank nothing at all the night of my stop. The counselor LOLd asking why I refused the breath test then, to which I replied "I heard you should always refuse b/c the calibration is frequently messed up." That blatant lie got me treatment recommended and not required. I'm assuming I'll still have to do it regardless of the verdict.

As far as my field tests, Braxton says I have some good things and some bad things in it. I dont get a straight answer from him on much, but I know he's being a good lawyer in the way he is answering. He does seem like you could BS with him on the phone, using words like "Bro" and "see ya man." Overall I think he is a good guy, and I retained him for 4500, maybe your retainer was more because you had an accident.

And thanks for the advice on keeping my head up. I haven't been doing a good job at easing my mind. Dwelling is also the worst part for me.

bellthru 3 years ago

Oh, and I did DUI counterattack in Brandon. I had the old cop as my instructor, he was pretty cool. I had my evaluation in Tampa though, over by HCC.

Jessica 3 years ago

My boyfriend just received a DUI so this article was very helpful in realizing what he will (and lets be honest, so will I), are going to be going through for the next few months. I know everybody makes mistakes, I am not judging you, it just sucks people have to get a DUI just to learn the hard way. Again, thank you!

Karl 2 years ago

This is a really good description of what happens when you get a DUI. I wish I had found it when I went through mine, I went through a year of court and was a nervous wreck the entire time. "Don't worry about it" is what I kept hearing, easy for others to say. The lawyer I hired is an ex-prosecutor for Hillsborough County who now has a his own firm, and he was able to get the escalated DUI charge reduced (i had over a .3 BAL). The vehicle impound and interlock were waived. I had to plea to the DUI, but it was a lot less painful and inexpensive.

gabs 2 years ago

karl who was your layer?

Harmony 2 years ago

Hi All...just found this post when searching for DUI evaluation questions. I have my evaluation this afternoon and am a nervous wreck. What can I expect? I didn't blow. Does that look like I'm already trying to be deceptive and an automatic trigger?

AlrightyThen 2 years ago

Harmony, I know this reply is about two weeks late, but no need to stress out about the evaluation. Almost everyone gets referred to treatment anyways. Check any "yes" boxes on the questionnaire and you get flagged as an alcohol abuser; but if you don't click any "yes" boxes then they say you are lying and get referred anyways.

Whatever you say, just stick with it. I brought in my arrest affidavit to the eval which had lots of LOL and embarrassing details in it. At my eval, the person was really confrontational - accusing me of lying within the first 3 minutes of sitting down. Pretty awkward and it felt like I was definitely going to be referred. But I wasn't. No rhyme or reason to any of it. They have a lot of discretion. Also, just as Julia said above, someone showed up to my class really high on pills of some sort and got booted from the class.

As it turns out, the providers who do the evaluations in one part of my county are the treatment providers on the other side of the county (and vice versa). So they keep referring people to providers so that they will return the favor on the other side of the county. Quite the racket indeed.

I am also hoping for a reckless driving in my case. Similar story to other folks on here, clean driving record, first DUI, no accident/kids in the car, didn't blow or do the exercises...etc etc. I will follow up for the sake of future readers once I find out my fate. I wish more people who have posted on this thread would follow up with their results.

emt 2 years ago

Ms. Julia,

I only wanted to take a moment of your time to sincerely thank you for your informative "What to expect when getting a DUI in FL.."

It was informative so much so that I printed your blog to keep with me as "reference" throughout this trying process.

I am at my wits end on how to handle this obstacle as I too have a family, career, etc. on the line. Lots of Praying and continuous diligence to stay on top of the issue at hand along with your experienced words of wisdom seem to be the best answer.

Best of Luck to you and your family and Happy Holidays

Corey 2 years ago

What do I do about insurance? State Farm won't have me for 5 years! Who should I talk to that would help me find all this out?

Angela 2 years ago

First off thank you so much for taking the time to write this article. It was very insightful. But for some reason...I am having a hell of time getting the "hardship Lisc" issue taken care due to the following....

I was arrested in Florida for a DUI back in April 2013. I did have my Georgia Lisc on me because I am a resident of Georgia: I was only visiting , however when arrested they did not put the DUI on my Georgia Lisc., instead they slammed the DUI on an old EXPIRED NON EXISTENT Floirda lisc., I had many years ago when I lived there. Since then I have moved to Georgia over 6 years ago where I am and have been a resident. I am trying to get my hardship lisc., but because it's on a lisc that doesn't exsist this is complicating matters. Hope this makes sense and any help would be appreciated.

Let me add when this happened, I hired an attorney in Florida who represented me, because I returned home ( Georgia) and I got probation which I am currently on and received 6 months probation. So today I go and get my hardship lisc here in georgia and was told I could not get the hardship because it shows that there is a "Citation" on my record. Clearly their is, the DUI on the EXPIRED Florida Lisc which I turned over to the DDS here in Georgia when I got my new Georgia Lisn. . So confusing...why would a police officer arrest me and not put the DUI on my VALID Georgia lisc???

Will 2 years ago

Thank you for taking the time to type this and tell your story...very informative and helpful.

Anonymous 2 years ago

I had my first DWI 7 months ago and going through this painstaking process and I have interlock. I see the probation officer once a week and am forced to attend AA 7 days a week. Almost done with counseling and I don't know when my next court date is. Its very scarey. Please don't drink and drive, its not worth it and once you are in the system, they will make your life very difficult and extremely inconvenient! Be safe and always get a designated driver! God bless you.

StarbucksCup 2 years ago

the scary thing is, a lot of auto insurance companies do not even run a driving history check before they give u an insurance quote. this helps drunk drivers get back on the road with affordable insurance.

trust me, i needed an fr44 filing for a while too, so i have experience. i did not need to pay the $244/month you needed to because my insurance company didn't even check to see if I needed one. i paid one third of that.

in my experience, 4autoinsurancequote doesn’t check and i’m sure a lot of others don’t either. although i got away with it, IMO, drunk drivers should not be able to get insurance THAT easy.

bellthru 2 years ago

Starbucks Cup,

When you are found guilty of DUI, the courts will notify the DMV, the DMV will issue you a timeframe, about 2 weeks, to get covered with DUI insurance. If your insurance company does not report that you are covered with the new premiums, the DMV will issue another suspension on your license. If you have a hardship, it will be suspended. Part of the DUI punishment in Florida is carrying DUI insurance for three consecutive years. There is no wait out period. No lawyers will tell you about this. This is something that happens after your lawyer time is over, your sentence handed down and you go to shop for new DUI insurance. This is the insurance company's own punishment on you that has nothing to do with criminal courts or the DMV/administrative side.

StarbucksCup, you may have escaped DUI rates temporarily. But you will have to carry DUI coverage for 3 straight years no matter when you start.


Good luck, if you beat the system then congrats.

Lee Ann 2 years ago

Hi Does anyone know about MUGSHOT REMOVAL services. They all seem like scams. Does anyone know if there is a trustworthy one that can have them removed? Its expensive but I would do it, just don't want to get ripped off. Any info would help. Thankyou

Tony 2 years ago

Ask yourself how many times have you had a DUI. Not how many times you've been cited with one. I don't have enough toes and fingers to count them on. Scary to think about. I never got in trouble for what I did in life, Only the things I got caught at, because I wasn't going to tell on or turn myself in.

tyFromFL 2 years ago

Thanks for posting this Julia. It really helped me through my DUI. Mine was reduced to reckless, but it still matched up with most of what you posted here. After a year, I'm almost finished and ready to move on...

still no driving 2 years ago

Was charged in MICHIGAN almost 3 years ago , my first was on my Florida lin. I did all that the court of law required me to do. I moved back to Florida and once again did all over!!! Everything I did there I did over here.

Classes , seen a councilor. ..... etc As I went in to see the councilor I had just received my certification from Michigan. And told him I have it. His exact words to me" if you would have brought this in to them in the beginning I wouldn't have had to do this!!! (Again) then he looks at me and says" I think Michigan was too easy on you, I am requesting treatment" WTH!!!!!I still have no license. I have paid double in everything , both states!!!

John J. 2 years ago

Hey LeeAnn,

The company I personally used to remove mugshots was/is called Clean Search.

I also wanted to add a tidbit. Don't think for a minute that it's all over and done with after going through the classes fines and all the other state collection/money making processes. I've,after 2years have been denied housing and let it be noted that you will be considered to have a criminal history for the rest of your life unless you live out the 99 years of notation on your record. Your character will always be under attack unless you were under the age of 21, in which case I believe you can have it either sealed or expunged? I am really having a hard time with this as in some cases, convicted felons can after a period of time have their records sealed or expunged. Fact being that I recently ran across someone who works in a county position who was arrested and convicted of trafficking narcotics and assault with a deadly weapon(gun). Not only was he employed by the very state where he was convicted but is also licensed to carry a concealed weapon. He stated that after ten years that the state allows this. What is wrong with this picture.

Florida is simply screwed up in so many ways. The corruption is rampant and I'd bet that most of the police can look back at a time when they were out drinking with their buddies either before becoming a sworn officer or after. I guess they're not normal, well I know most just think who they are once they adorn a badge. Let's not forget the judges and lawyers who are the biggest drunks going, not all but a very large portion.

I'm tired of the comments as the one posted above which stated, well you should not have been drinking and driving.(da!) I guess you live your life in a closet and have been sheltered.

Did you ever hear of a mistake and have you ever been forgiven and not have it held against you for your entire life. I hope that at person gets nailed at something,it doesn't have to be a DUI and let's see how you feel afterward.

I have not had one drink in over 2 years,so what makes me any different now than you now squeaky clean MJ? You are obviously judgmental and not someone who I'd ever want to be around. I'll bet you talk behind the backs of even those people you know.

Truth is it's over but never over!

John J.

Pharme464 2 years ago

Your goal is to breed all the different dragons cbekkfb

Ryan 2 years ago

Just got done going through this. I blew a 0.322 (yea, you read that right). The kicker was, though, that I wasn't driving. I was sitting on my parked car with the ignition off and the keys in my pocket. I happened to be in my usual parking spot in a church parking lot right next to the house of a girl I was seeing at the time. I hadn't driven at all that day. We just happened to be in my car when a cop rolled up to bother us. He asked me if I had been drinking and I quickly told him yes as I figured I was only guilty of curbside drinking at best. Long story short, I ended up getting a DUI without actually driving under the influence. I filed a motion to dismiss based on the fact that he illegally detained me. This was true and we had plenty of case law precedents of this same situation. They judge must have had a shitty night's sleep because he denied my motion. They STILL let me plea no contest to a reduced charge of DUI alcohol or drugs (reduced from DUI .15 or higher or with minor). Ended up with a years probation which was terminated early after 6 months, 100 hours community service, $1000 fine, dui school, "treatment," victim impact. I still have to pay for the FR-44 insurance and get the interlock device as I never even bothered going and paying for the hardship. My suspension is already up, I just have to fork over the rest of the money to cover the DMV portion of the requirements.

Let this be a lesson - you CAN get a DUI without driving a car. My lawyer told me if I was ever in this situation again, make sure I put my keys in the trunk or throw them in the bushes; somewhere they could not possibly be in reach. Obviously the hassle-free option would just be to not drink in your car, but I figured I'd offer that little tip.

elf 2 years ago

yes drinking and driving is dangerous.

the laws in florida have gone over board. i paid my dues for dui,completed requirements ( including early termination of probation)

and supervision.

( didn't have good counsel) convicted without evidence.

i hav moved on with my life. having this on my record for 75 yrs is over

kill. florida does not have expungment laws.

matt 2 years ago

Very helpful and insightful.

John J. 2 years ago


It's all well and good for you because you're now known by a different last name,probably divorced and remarried? You also don't have to worry about housing nor being employed and your significant other I'll bet pays the majority of your bills. So its all good for you as you don't have to do anything but ignore what's now the past. Live in my shoes and then start your post over.

The initial posting however should be drafted as a handout and you and all friends and family members should be hanging out outside all the clubs in every corner of Florida…or if you really want to help get involved with the judgmental old hippies with MADD who during their college years were partying every chance they got…just never got nailed. They have so much money and have very high paid lobbyists,actually some of the strongest in Washington D.C. Give them the initial post and let them acquire a nationwide NCOA list and mail the scenario you've laid out to all Americans.

You really want to help,then post your phone number and supply it to all environments that serve alcohol so you can take those who become intoxicated home for free!

The facts you gave are great but need to be publicized everywhere so that any idiot who has prior knowledge may not make a mistake that will haunt them for life….yes life!!!

I'm sure you still drink,that's my guess and I hope you get nailed again.

You can also start a campaign to address the expungement laws so people don't suffer a mistake forever.

CEE 2 years ago

Well now I have to say your account of what happens is very target spot on for I am going through this now. Yes at first it was anger and resentment that they just want the money and now it is I did this it is part of my life and I must get past it and as with other things in my life. I will prevail for I have been hit with harder health situations than this DUI! I beat cancer in 04 and will get through this situation! I have already done my DUI school and am two weeks away from completing my counseling and got victims impact class already scheduled. All this done before I even go to sign Pretrial Diversion contract. So the only thing I will have to do is report and community service and have boot put on car for 10 days. I actually will have had my 6 month suspension done by the 16th of June and yes it sucks that one has to go and get around with no care from the system, yet hey I did this for no one else did it but me. I was one fo those who was actually home in my aprkign lot and was sleeping 10 feet from my apartment door! Yeah well that is the way the ball bounces and life goes on. I just wish I could get the car booted before the contract as well yet hey all things in good time. My only problem is that I will have to walk everywhere as I had a bike to ride till it was stolen and everything will be accomplished before I get my lic back except for the 12 months of reporting! oh and the community service and the 500.00 contribution to M.A.D.D. Thanks for our story and it is one that millions can tell daily. It is all about the money and nothing more yet who is going to fight for the right of a drunk driver

HELP 2 years ago

Is this blog still active?

DumbGuy0219 2 years ago

I was arrested one week ago for my first DUI in the State of Florida. I am lucky I have a job where my employer was very understanding about the situation. I spent the night in jail was released on my own accord, however did blow above .15 BAC but below .20 BAC. in the state of Florida this brings some additional penalties. Don't give up if you are in a similar situation. You are allowed to get a hardship license after your 10 day period which will allow you to go to work, school and church (although you must sign up for DUI School first). The hardship license will cost you $206 plus a $25 admin. fee. My attorney will be $2,000, (get a good attorney mine was a former head prosecutor with connections in the court system), although this may still not get me off. I've registered and paid for DUI class which is $276.00 and am attending these courses next weekend ( My attorney suggested I get this course out of the way immediately). If or when you are found guilty you will pay a fine of around $1,000 a $500 dollar reinstatement fee and in my case I will most likely have to install the interlock device, FR 44 insurance which will need to paid up front my quote was $1,620 for 6-months and pay for probation and counceling if ordered by the court. At the end of the day a mistake that will cost me over $8K.

My advice is if this is your first DUI, let it be your last! I've learned my lesson before any penalties. You cannot sit around and feel sorry for yourself, if you are an adult it's just another adult problem that can be solved and as you know in today's America most can be solved with some $$$. Keep working saving money pay the penalties and move on!

Florida Kid 21 months ago

I thank you all for your sharing, honesty, and openness. I (really, really) enjoy my daily beer, and thank all of you for your blogs. Thanks to your blogs, I refuse the urge to drink until the end the day, when I am in the comfort of my home. I read your posts, every now and then, to remind me of what can and will happen, if I don't stick to my "drink at home" rule. Again, I thank you all for what "could have/should have" happened to me in the past.

God Bless, Florida Kid

janey 19 months ago

A best friend of mine just received a DUI and its such a shock but I am so greatful she is safe and no one was hurt. We are trying to support her by searching all we can about this process and keep her sane through it. This post was very informative and supportive. Thank you very much!

Scaredbeyond 17 months ago

Julia is on point with everything that happens after a DUI. Permit me to digress a bit, and let me tell you the three things that you need to worry about after a DUI , these days

1. Will you be found guilty, or not in the Court System.

2.Will the DMV reinstate my full driving privilege.

3. Clearing you name off of GOOGLE, and all the extortionist websites.

I want to elaborate more on number 3. Apart from the thousands of dollars that you will need to spend in number 1 and 2. You will need to spend at least another $1000, to have these extortionist mug shot websites, remove your arrest photo. You will spend this if you care about your reputation, and hopefully if the proposed bill against mug shots websites pass. I hope that if the bills past I will be able to I will be able to sue, these sites for taking my money.

I want to tell you lazy people this, start WRITING YOUR SENATORS AND GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT. I say lazy because Julia wrote this article since 2013, and none of you people, perhaps herself , couldn't get a bill passed, to stop these extortionist websites from preying on the misfortune of others. I have already written three lawmakers in Florida and I suggest you do the same NOW, or else you will never get you mug shot off the internet. The two senators you need to write are Darren Soto and Maria Lorts Sachs. Find their respective websites by doing a google search, and send them an email, stating that you would like them to pass a law to prohibit mug shot websites from taking money and to remove your photo if you request so. You also want them to have a free opt out feature.

I had written to former senator Carl Zimmerman about the issue, and he replied to me stating that this bill was very important to him, but it was turned down because of the special interest groups with lots of money from the opposition. He said that he wouldn't be surprised if those mug shot websites did fund the opposition. Unfortunately Carl was not re elected into office, so now,Darren Soto, and Maria Lorts are the only hope left for us. WRITE THEM FOR YOUR OWN SAKE.

Google said that they made an algorithm by the name of HUMMINGBIRD, to prevent mug shot website from ranking high. While I think it may be true and it did work at the time it was created, I don't think it is effective anymore, because these mug shot websites are getting around the algorithm, to rank high on the first page of GOOGLE. I would suggest writing MATT CUTTS of GOOGLE. He is an important figure at GOOGLE and will perhaps look into the matter if he gets a lot of requests to do so. The only way I found a way to make contact with him is via Facebook , because his blogger website doesn't have a way to contact him. Write Matt Cutts and tell them to ban these extortionist website who are taking money from us, and you want him to ban these website from preying on us. Tell him how sketchy and shady these websites are. These website are so shady that they hide in foreign countries or in-corporate their business in a foreign land , their only address is outside of the USA. They don't post phone numbers, and whenever you send them an email, they respond with an automated message, and that's it .

The first amendment law is stupid here in America, for this reason, and here is why. The mug shot websites say it is free speech, and publishing this info is in the operating interest of public safety. Public safety my behind !!!! , when you take money in exchange for removing the arrest info. I will tell you guys something, I did pay one of these sites and I was able to track down the address of the owner of the site. The owners live in SCAM FLORIDA. The owner of one of these sites lives in Palm Coast Florida, and has a big yacht in the front of their home. They just sit down and collect money the wrong way, when you earn bad money or money that isn't blessed , bad things will happen to you. I see stories of people gaining riches overnight but never lived long enough to enjoy the money. I know without a doubt people are hurting because of their reputation on the internet, and I read in some places that people committed suicide because of the embarrassment. I strongly feel that one day these mug shot operates will be their fate in a bad way. I cant enjoy life with money that wasn't earned honestly , or cursed money.

I gather that some here all well educated and professional people who just want to put the DUI behind us. My case is pending, I refused a breath test, and all I can say is that some people say it is good and bad. I think the laws in Florida need to be changed for DUI people that didn't cause a crash or did property damage. I thought that the law was unfair because I would have much rather that the cops do this

a. arrest me.

b. tow my car which I would have to pay and get back.

c take me to the station.

d. leave me there for a day as punishment.

e. don't take my mugshot.

f. Call my family member to pick me up after 24 hrs.

G.Make me pay them $4500 fine instead of this money to a lawyers and let me go. I know many of you don't have this money, but the fact that you would have to pay this is a major deterrent in itself for never letting it happen again.

Many of you who will be reply to this post , need to say how much money are you paying for insurance now, tell us the amount you are paying, so that some of us can get an idea. I also sympathize with you now, because I know the pain and suffering you are feeling now. This is the time when you need to get god into your life. Make him come into your life and forgive you for all the bad in your life. I felt this my DUI was my karma, It was to happen because I was never always an angel, I pray to god everyday that the outcome of my case will be favorable. I might want too leave this country because I know for a fact that the police will harass me whenever, they pull up behind my car. I don't want to go through another DUI ever again !!!!! I have heard stories of cops fishing people when the see previous DUI from your license plates. This is how people get caught with their 2nd and 3rd. If your eyes are red they will arrest you on suspicion of DUI . You better not be driving after " bar hours" even if you are sober, because the stakes get high at these times. I don't want to live my life on thin water. I am also contemplating transferring my car registration out of my personal name, and into the business name, so that they wouldn't have reason to pull me over. I hope this will work. I am not sure though, but I would welcome your input on this idea. A DUI isn't the end of the world, but your life will be a battle or a few months , so be strong and welcome the support you get from those that care about you. Last piece of advise get a dash camera for you car like what everybody who drives in Russia has. Just go on YouTube and type if Russian dash camera video, you will see what I am talking about. Having a dash camera can be your evidence if you ever get caught again, and especially when you are accused of doing something. You need probable cause to make a DUI go away in some instances. Make the investment and buy a dash camera with audio.

Scaredbeyond 17 months ago

Apart from getting your photo taken on the night of your arrest, can some people answer this question. If you are found guilty and the judges sentences you to some time , does you photo get taken again ? In essence two mug shots , different times which mean you have to pay twice to get your photo/s off the websites ?

John J. 12 months ago

Been a long time since I've visited the blog and want everyone to note that Joe Schmoe is totally incorrect. You cannot just take public transportation for 3 years and avoid the insurance issues any longer. It may have been true at one time,but no longer. You can sit it out if you wish,but the moment you go for insurance you'll still have to acquire the state maximums once you reinstate your license or register a car. I argued with DMV direct in Tallahassee as I was told that I could sit it longer. Your best bet is to lie as to where you live,not with a family member and acquire the non-owner insurance policy. We're all getting ripped off. If they can dish it out then they should be able to take it as well.

some guy 11 months ago

Also, you can sell your vehicle, get the non-owner's policy (paying for it for 6 months up front), then buy a car to install the interlock device on and insure that car for max limits, which you'll only have to pay by the month. You can have two policies and they will reinstate your license. This saves a ton of money, even though it's inconvenient. Just a heads up.

Also, for anyone wondering the answer to the question Scaredbeyond posted above, yes, every time you visit the jail, you get a new mugshot.

Hope some of this helps you poor fools.

raj 40 hours ago

you said you had counseling for 3 months but how long were the classes and how many times per week?


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