A drunk driving conviction can negatively impact your life in a number of ways. Not only is DUI a criminal offense, subjecting you to fines and possible jail time, but there are a host of additional penalties and consequences over and above being convicted for any other misdemeanor or felony offense. The experienced lawyers at Eighmie Law Firm fight to get you the best outcome possible and minimize any negative consequences that can result from a DUI arrest in Florida.
Florida DUI Laws
If you are found to be driving or in control of a vehicle while under the influence or impaired by alcohol, you can be arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida. Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% is enough to be arrested for DUI, but you could also be arrested for DUI if other evidence of impairment was present. If convicted, you can be fined between $500 and $1,000 and sent to jail or into treatment for up to six months. You can also be ordered to perform 50 hours of community service or pay a fine equivalent to $10 per hour of service. You car will be impounded for ten days, and you will be placed on probation for up to a year. Additionally, your driver’s license will be revoked for six months, and even after it is reinstated, an ignition interlock device may be ordered on your vehicle.
All of these penalties are for a first offense only. If you have prior DUI convictions, or if other factors are present such as an exceptionally high BAC, having a minor in the car, or causing a car accident with injury, the penalties can be much greater. DUI can even be charged as a felony in certain circumstances.
Another thing to understand about Florida DUI law is that if you are tested with a BAC of .08% (or more), the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will initiate a six-month suspension of your driver’s license for driving with an unlawful alcohol level (DUBAL). This administrative license suspension occurs independent of any criminal prosecution and goes forward regardless of whether you are convicted of DUI. If convicted, you can be subject to both the administrative suspension and the criminal court license revocation and have to pay two separate sets of fees to reinstate your license. You will have to retake the driver’s exam as well. Last but not least, you will be required to obtain additional auto insurance coverage which is much more expensive than what you had to carry prior to your DUBAL/DUI.
Help is Available for DUI Arrests
The penalties for a DUI arrest or conviction are serious enough that any DUI arrest should be taken very seriously. Fortunately, there are often many defenses and strategies available to help avoid a conviction or minimize the most serious consequences. For instance, the police must have cause to make an initial stop and search or test the individual for intoxication. Whether they had sufficient cause or not can be challenged in court. Additionally, whatever procedures were used to determine intoxication, such as field sobriety tests or roadside breath testing equipment, can be challenged as to their scientific validity and accuracy. Also, statements made by the accused and used against him or her may be inadmissible if the proper warnings were not given. These are just a handful of the ways in which police procedures may be challenged. If mistakes were made, it may be possible to get charges dismissed or reduced or obtain an acquittal/not guilty verdict. Even the administrative driver’s license suspension may be fought or appealed through available legal procedures.
Contact Our Experienced Lawyers
If you have been arrested for DUI, you need lawyers in your corner who will fight for you and who know how to get the best result in your situation. Contact our lawyers at the Eighmie Law Firm for immediate assistance.