Third DUI Defense Attorney

Attorneys for a Third Drunk Driving Charge in Palm Beach and Broward Counties

Under Florida law, the penalties and punishments for driving under the influence increase dramatically based on the number of prior convictions. These penalties include enhanced revocation, mandatory minimum jail, and the mandatory period of impoundment.

The law draws a distinction between a third DUI when the offense occurs within 10 years of a prior conviction or outside 10 years of a prior conviction. In many of these cases, the prosecutor believes that the requisite number of prior convictions exists but nevertheless treats the offense as a first or second conviction for sentencing purposes.

Palm Beach Lawyer for a Third DUI Charge

The stakes are higher with a 3rd DUI, so contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to discuss your case. You must act quickly so that your attorney can demand a formal review hearing to contest any administrative action against your driver's license. These charges must be fought aggressively at every stage so you can fight for the absolute best result.

Call (561) 557-8686 to discuss your prosecution for a third DUI in West Palm Beach and throughout Palm Beach County or Broward County, including in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton.

Info on Third DUI Charges in Florida

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Will the Third DUI Be Prosecuted as a Misdemeanor or Felony?

The prosecutor might be forced to ignore prior convictions for sentencing purposes because of problems in proving those prior convictions in court. Due process concerns often cause problems when attempting to prove that a prior conviction occurred. For instance, if one of the prior convictions resulted from a plea to the charges without the assistance of counsel, it may be impossible for the prosecutor to count that prior offense.

Increasing the penalties for a third DUI can also be based on out-of-state convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) or similar offenses, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving with an unlawful blood alcohol level (DUBAL), operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OUI) or any similar alcohol or drug-related traffic offense. However, the prosecutor may have problems securing all the necessarily documents to prove the prior conviction when it occurs out of state.

You should be aware that even if the court and the prosecutor treat the DUI as a first or second conviction for sentencing purposes, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is permitted to make its own determination. The DHSMV's determination is based on the number of offenses reported on the driving record (which often includes convictions from out of state).

Your criminal defense attorney will do an investigation to determine any basis for excluding a prior conviction from consideration. Contact an attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to discuss your case. We fight a third DUI aggressively to help you fight for the best possible result.

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Third DUI with No Prior Convictions within 10 Years

If your third DUI arrest did not occur within 10 years of any prior DUI conviction, then it can only be charged as a misdemeanor. The penalties for a third DUI outside of 10 years are generally the same as a first DUI except the statutory maximum sentence is 12 months in jail.  Additionally, there will be no eligibility for a hardship license during the suspension period, you will be subjected to a two-year ignition interlock when eligible for your license and you will certainly be facing much higher fines and court costs.

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Third DUI with Any Prior Conviction within 10 Years

If the third DUI occurred within ten years of a prior then the prosecutor has the discretion to charge the offense as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If it is charged as a felony, then the offense is a third-degree felony punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and 5 years in Florida State Prison.

Even if the offense is charged as a misdemeanor, the following penalties apply:

  • Jail: A minimum of 30 days (30 days with at least 48 hours consecutive) and a maximum of 364 days;
  • Fine: A minimum of $2,000 with a maximum of $5,000 (or a minimum of $4,000 if the BAC over .15 or a child was in the vehicle);
  • Vehicle Impoundment: The court must order the vehicle be impounded for ninety (90) days;
  • Driver's License Revocation: Minimum 10 years revocation and not eligible for a hardship reinstatement for at least the first two years). -Mandatory ignition interlock device: At least 24 months:
  • DUI School: The court will require the driver complete DUI School Level II as a condition of probation which includes both classroom instruction, a substance abuse evaluation and completion of any recommended follow-up treatment.

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Applying for a Hardship Reinstatement after a Third DUI Conviction

One of the most serious consequences of a third DUI conviction within 10 years is that the person may not apply for a hardship reinstatement hearing during the first two years after the conviction. After the two-year period, the person must show proof of completing DUI school and remaining in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period.  If the 3rd DUI conviction is occurring after 10 years, then you will be able to apply for a new license when the suspension period runs with the interlock restriction in place for the two-year period.

Any failure to report for counseling or treatment shall result in the cancellation of the hardship license. The hearing officer will ask whether the person applying for the hardship reinstatement has consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement. If the answer is yes, then the driver is not eligible for hardship reinstatement. The person is also required to have the ignition interlock device for two years.

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Fighting the 3rd DUI in Palm Beach and Broward County

If you were arrested for a third DUI in West Palm Beach, FL, or anywhere in Palm Beach County or Broward County, then contact an experienced lawyer at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We represent clients on a variety of serious traffic offenses such as DUI and driving while license suspended or revoked.

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Client Testimonials for Meltzer & Bell, P.A.
Client Testimonials
  • ...A long weekend vacation in Palm Beach resulted in the potential for serious consequences that could have set me back in unimaginative ways. M+B was a truly incredible legal advocate and was always accessible within minutes to answer questions and discuss the progress of the case within the system - truly remarkable. I could not have retained better legal representation in my case in Palm Beach County.

  • I just had to commend you on the outstanding job you did on behalf of your client in court yesterday. If my clients were ever to ask me if I know of a good DUI defense attorney, I know to whom I can refer them!

  • I was facing hard prison time and punishment. [Larry] did everything to pull strings and get me into rehab. After meeting with many therapists I finally got one to diagnose me successfully with Bipolar. Thanks to Larry I have been sober since 6/19/09. My health is great and my family life is amazing. It's because he saw something in me and my family that I wasn't just an alcoholic there was something that told me it was something else.

  • I was charged with a felony and facing the scary thought of losing my job, but thank you Attorney Steven Bell for helping me. Now I’m able to keep my job and take care of my family. I am truly amazed by your service, and you for understanding what I have to deal with. To me I’m very impressed by way you handled my case and was here to listen and make things OK!

  • Mr. Steven Bell, Words cant explain how thankful I am for you and your firm. I was facing felony charges and even looking at doing 5 years in jail! Not only did you fight for me, you got my case dismissed and dropped. For that, I don't have words to say “thank you” you were always kind and believed in me. You looked for every opportunity and you won! Thank you for being my guardian angel in disguise and steering me in the right direction. You are forever my “too go guy” thank you soooo much!

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