Fort Myers is a veritable paradise. Famous shelling beaches, tropical resorts, idyllic islands, and an out of this world party scene make it one of the best places in the world to pick up a beer and cheers to life. However, when you swig one too many of those beers and hop behind the wheel of a car, you have a big chance of being pulled over and charged with a DUI. This might spell trouble in paradise. Your best option is to enlist the aid of a Fort Myers lawyer and strengthen your defense for your DUI trial.
Don’t wait if you have been charged with a DUI in the Fort Myers, FL, area. Schedule a free consultation with The Law Place lawyers in Fort Myers. We can prepare the best possible DUI defense and help you get back to your life in paradise. Our attorneys work together on every case, having over 75 years of combined experience. We guarantee a thorough and varied criminal defense for your DUI charges that will have you feeling secure in no time.
Our lines are open 24/7, and we are always available to take your call.
Contact a criminal defense attorney at The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.
What Is a DUI?
The Legal Information Institute defines driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) over .08 as a DUI, which is both a criminal and administrative charge. Florida is a zero-tolerance state for underage drinking and driving, so minors caught with a BAC of only .02 can also be charged with a DUI.
You may see the term DWI (driving while intoxicated) being used. This is equivalent to a DUI and may be used interchangeably, depending on the arresting officer or court official.
DUI is the same charge brought against individuals caught under the influence of illicit or prescription drugs while operating a motor vehicle. While a DUI might be a misdemeanor, other drug charges can be felonies that are pursued in addition to this charge.
What Tests Are Used to Prove a DUI?
Police officers use a variety of tests and observational methods to prove a motorist is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These include:
- Coordination exams – A quick way of determining possible intoxication. Officers may ask you to touch your nose, balance on one foot, or walk in a straight line.
- Verbal exams – You may be asked to recite the ABC’s backward or a similar verbal exercise to see if you slur your words or experience cognitive difficulty.
- Breathalyzer test – This is the most accurate field test available. Officers carry a device that individuals blow air into, which then measures infrared light to pick up alcohol molecules in their mouths.
- HGN test – Known as the horizontal gaze nystagmus, officers test the involuntary jerk of the eyes in response to light or movement.
- Blood/ Urine test – This is usually done at the police station or a specialized testing vehicle. BAC or drug intake can be measured extremely accurately using blood or urine chemical tests.
You have the right to refuse these exams, but under Florida Statute 316.1932, known as “implied consent law,” you automatically give up your driver’s license for up to one year.
What Qualifies as a Misdemeanor DUI in Fort Myers?
Most DUI’s in Florida are charged as misdemeanor crimes. This means that there is no possibility of prison time. You can, however, still receive a jail sentence and heavy fines if you are found guilty. First and second DUI charges are classed as misdemeanors as long as there was no serious injury as a result of the crime.
Consequences for misdemeanor DUI’s include:
- Community service
- Court-mandated AA meetings
- Driving school
- Jail-time (up to 6 months)
- License suspension for 6-12 months
What Qualifies as a Felony DUI in Fort Myers, FL?
If a serious injury occurs as a result of drunk driving, the charge may be elevated to a felony offense. A third or fourth Fort Myers DUI is charged as a felony as well.
Penalties for felony DUI’s include:
- Permanent license suspension
- Prison sentence
- Larger fines
Felonies are inherently more serious than misdemeanor crimes and should not be taken lightly. The sentencing of a felony conviction will take place after a probationary court hearing in which a term of probation is given to the offender. Offenses committed while under a probationary period can result in a return to prison and additional charges associated with the violation of the terms of probation.
If you are facing either a misdemeanor or felony charge, contact The Law Place DUI lawyers today for a free consultation.
Fort Myers, FL, DUI Statistics
According to the Center for Disease Control, there were 8,053 alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths in Florida from the years 2004 – 2016.
Fort Myers, FL, and the nearby Cape Coral have the 10th highest number of DUI related accidents and deaths in the State of Florida, which itself has a higher number than the average state. However, the area has shown marked improvement over the last few years, previously holding the number one spot in the state. Since 2014, there has been a 69% decrease in drunk driving deaths.
The Annual Report for 2017 from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles demonstrates this downward trend of DUI arrests and drunk driving-related deaths. Several variables may contribute to this reduction:
- Rideshare apps – Uber and Lyft have become the generally accepted way to get home after a night of drinking, reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road.
- Education – State educational programs, ad campaigns, and word of mouth have had a positive effect on people’s views on drunk driving. More people know how bad the outcome can be if they ignore the warnings.
- Enforcement – Police have engaged in stricter enforcement of road rules throughout the state, making it harder for people to get away with drunk driving. Why risk it when you may be arrested?
- Less young drivers – A decrease in car ownership and the aforementioned prevalence of rideshare apps have reduced the amount of young and drunk drivers throughout Fort Myers, FL.
Still, Fort Myers is a hotbed for such incidents. 2.68 per 100,000 residents are killed every year in DUI crashes, while the national average sits at 1.9. Non-fatal DUI accidents are still very serious as well. Many different agencies are fighting to bring these numbers down, but it’s still an uphill battle.
Don’t become another statistic. Hire a Fort Myers DUI lawyer to defend your case today. Contact The Law Place law firm to discuss your options.
Can Defense Attorneys Get a Fort Myers, FL, DUI Dismissed?
Evidence against you can be fought on various legal grounds. Contesting the legitimacy of this evidence is the main way your criminal defense attorney can have your DUI thrown out. Your lawyer will address the following in any investigation on your behalf:
- Field sobriety tests – Any sobriety tests conducted by officers in the field must be done following state laws and regulations.
- Process of arrest – Police may have stopped you illegally, without any reasonable suspicion or cause. Any evidence after the fact may be inadmissible.
- Recorded observations – Arresting officers are required to make official notes during any traffic stop. These observations may be false or illegitimate.
- Blood alcohol tests – Any chemical tests such as a breathalyzer or blood test must be administered with acknowledged consent.
Is a Fort Myers, FL, DUI Lawyer Worth It?
A Fort Myers DUI attorney can help you beat the charges for driving under the influence. Although this is not guaranteed, you should not assume that it isn’t worth it to enlist the aid of a lawyer for your defense.
It can be expensive to hire a Fort Myers DUI lawyer. However, the cost of legal aid is nowhere near what the cost might be if you are convicted without one. Fines, as well as the loss of your freedom, outweigh the potential expenses associated with a quality legal defense. You should take the opportunity to beat back a DUI charge, or at least have them reduced, by hiring a lawyer.
Schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Fort Myers today. The Law Place is here to examine and explain the unique needs of your DUI case. Without a lawyer, you risk much more than you may realize.
What Happens If I Don’t Get a Lawyer for a Fort Myers DUI?
If you cannot afford not to hire a Fort Myers DUI lawyer to fight your case, you are still entitled to a public defender provided by and paid for by the state of Florida. You can choose to waive your right to an attorney, although this is not recommended. Even for a first time DUI, having a lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
If you don’t have an attorney, then you are entirely at the mercy of the prosecution and the verdict of the court. You can argue your case on your own, but if you lack comprehensive legal knowledge of Florida law, you are unlikely to beat a Fort Myers DUI.
Consult The Law Place Fort Myers, FL Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
Have you been charged with driving under the influence in Fort Myers? Are you afraid you may lose your job or even worse?
You have the right to the best possible Fort Myers DUI legal defense attorney.
Consult The Law Place Fort Myers lawyers today. We offer exceptional criminal defense and can help protect your driving privileges and livelihood from DUI criminal charges. Our attorneys have the combined experience of 75 years and work together on every case, ensuring a thorough and varied strategy for your defense.
Schedule a free consultation with our law firm today. Our DUI lawyer in Fort Myers will meet with you and discuss your legal options and potential strategy free of charge.
Our lines are open 24/7, and our law firm representatives are always waiting to take your call.
Call The Law Place now at (941) 444-4444.