If have been arrested in Lakeland and are facing DUI charges, do not worry. At The Law Place, we have a DUI attorney to help you. These criminal charges carry heavy penalties and it is in your best interest to fight them. Our law firm has a vast amount of experience helping clients get their DUI offenses reduced or dropped. No matter if this is your first DUI arrest or your fifth, we can help you.
The sooner you seek legal counsel, the better. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Lakeland DUI lawyers, phone us now at (941)-444-4444.
What Is a DUI Offense?
In Lakeland, DUI refers to driving under the influence. These offenses carry severe penalties and can change lives forever. An arresting officer will charge a person with DUI if any of the following circumstances apply:
- The driver’s blood alcohol level was .08% or greater. Minor drivers can be charged if they have a level of .02% or greater.
- The driver is clearly impaired by chemical substances.
- The driver is clearly impaired by controlled substances.
Is a Drunk Driving Offense the Same as DUI?
Drunk driving and DUI are the same offense. In the Lakeland area, the offense is more commonly known as drunk driving.
Although many people are aware of the severity of a DUI conviction in Lakeland, FL., people still drive under the influence. We strongly advise that people never get behind the wheel if they have consumed alcohol. If caught by police officers, lives can alter forever.
We understand that innocent mistakes happen and that is why we are here to help. You deserve the chance to fight your DUI conviction. A criminal defense attorney at our law firm will do all they can to ensure that you achieve a positive outcome from your DUI case.
Penalties for DUI Cases
DUI charges in Polk County carry severe penalties. The state of Florida punishes these traffic offenses harshly in the interest of public safety. If you are facing DUI charges, the best thing a criminal defense attorney can do is get your case dropped or reduced. You can avoid penalties altogether if your DUI charges are dropped. If a DUI attorney can get your case reduced, you will encounter far less severe penalties.
If this is your first DUI arrest, and your breath test results state your blood alcohol level is above .08% but below .15%, you could encounter the following penalties:
- A $1,000 fine.
- Six months imprisonment.
- 50 hours of community service.
- One year of probation.
- DUI school.
- Vehicle impoundment for ten days.
- Driver’s license suspension between 180 days and one year.
If breath test results suggest you are significantly over the legal limit, .15% or above, the penalties you could face will be greater in severity. In this instance, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device.
It should come as no surprise that second DUI charges carry more severe penalties. The time between your offenses can also impact the penalties you receive. This is because the closer your criminal cases are together, the harsher your penalties will be. It is also likely in these cases that a judge will require an offender to serve a minimum of ten days in jail. You will also more than likely suffer a license suspension.
Some of the typical penalties awarded to second-time DUI offenders include:
- A $2,000 fine.
- Nine months imprisonment.
- One year of probation.
- 30 days of vehicle impoundment.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device for six months.
- Driver’s license suspension between 180 days and one year.
You can be convicted of a felony DUI offense in Polk County if you are arrested for DUI for the third time within ten years. Penalties awarded for a felony conviction are far more serious than they are for a misdemeanor conviction. Offenders found guilty could spend years in jail and have to pay fines worth thousands of dollars.
If you accidentally cause the death of another person because you were operating your motor vehicle over the legal limit, you will face severe penalties. This can include you causing the death of pregnancy too. These offenses are classified as second-degree felonies, which are major offenses.
The amount of time you have to spend in jail will depend on the judge ruling on your case. For a DUI manslaughter case, you can expect to serve a minimum of four years in jail.
Is DUI on a Boat a Criminal Offense?
There is a misconception that drunk driving rules in Florida do not apply to people driving boats. This is not the case. The criminal law concerning drunk driving applies to all motor vehicles, including boat users. Unfortunately, this catches out many Floridians every year.
If you have been caught operating a boat under the influence of alcohol and/ or drugs, you should seek advice for an experienced Florida law attorney. We have helped countless clients get their cases dropped and have a vast knowledge of defense strategies that can be applied to your case.
Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Remove a Conviction From My Criminal Record?
Unfortunately, if you are found guilty of driving under the influence, it will remain on your driving record for 75 years. This could likely be for the rest of your lifetime. Having this offense on your record can be a huge hindrance. You may experience increased insurance rates and may be unable to pursue a career driving commercially.
Your driving record is different from your criminal record. If you are found guilty, a DUI will remain on your criminal record forever as you cannot get it expunged. This is why it is important to get your criminal charges reduced.
With the help of a reputable criminal defense attorney, you may be to get your DUI charges reduced to reckless driving charges. If you are convicted of reckless driving, you can get this conviction expunged from your record with the help of an attorney. Furthermore, the penalties associated with reckless driving are far less severe than those for driving under the influence.
How Much Does a DUI Cost?
If found guilty of DUI, your life can change forever. You may be imprisoned, you may lose your driving privileges, you may lose your livelihood, you may suffer a great change to your quality of life, and you may suffer newfound isolation. The consequences of a DUI offense are severe and can cost a person everything.
This is why it is important that people accused of DUI seek reputable and experienced criminal defense attorneys. There is no such thing as average attorney legal fees. The amount that you may have to pay a law firm for their legal services can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of your case. At The Law Place, we offer competitive rates as we have the interests of our clients at heart.
A DUI offense is serious and should not be taken lightly. You should not let legal fees deter you from fighting your case. If found guilty, there is a likelihood you will have to pay more in fines than you would have legal fees. Defendants who are represented by a reputable DUI defense attorney in Polk County are far more likely to have their cases dropped or reduced. The presence of an attorney suggests that a defendant is taking their legal case seriously.
How Do I Act if I Am Caught Driving Under the Influence in Lakeland?
If you are caught driving under the influence by a police officer in Lakeland, remain calm. There are a few things that you can do to help your future DUI defense case, these are stated below.
Don’t Admit Fault
The absolute worst thing you can do is admit that you were aware that you were driving under the influence. Anything you say to an arresting officer can be held against your case. Therefore, as soon as you make a statement admitting fault, it becomes very difficult for a DUI defense attorney to get your case reduced or dropped.
You should answer all the simple questions asked to you by a police officer but avoid giving away too many details. It is then vital that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. A DUI defense attorney at The Law Place will be able to advise you on what you should and shouldn’t say. Throughout the whole arrest, you should remain calm and respectful. Being respectful can aid your DUI defense case massively.
Cooperate With the Law Enforcement Officer
When you are pulled to a stop and questioned by a police officer in Polk County, they will typically request that you complete a breath test and a field sobriety test. We recommend that you cooperate with the police officer and complete those tests. If you refuse a breath test, you will face further legal trouble.
Our lawyers are well aware that breathalyzer tests are notorious for producing skewed and incorrect results. Your test will be examined by your lawyer and can be used to get your case dropped. If your lawyer is able to prove that your breath test was administered incorrectly and not calibrated properly, your case can be dropped.
Ignition Interlock Devices
These devices are awarded to people who have been successfully charged with DUI. They must be installed in a vehicle and they require a driver to complete a breath test before the vehicle ignitions. If a driver tests to be over the legal limit, the vehicle will not start.
The guidelines surrounding these devices have been outlined by The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV.)
The amount of time that offenders have to use these devices will depend on the severity of their DUI and how many previous convictions they have. These devices can have a huge impact on a person’s day-to-day life. It is unsurprising that many offenders wish to avoid receiving one of these devices. A reputable lawyer in Lakeland will do all they can to get DUI cases reduced or dropped, so their clients do not receive these devices.
Contact The Law Place Today!
Our criminal offense lawyers have years of experience and knowledge working within Florida criminal law. If you have been arrested for DUI in Lakeland, Polk County, the sooner you act, the better. The more time you allow a DUI defense attorney to build your defense strategy, the greater the chance you have of getting your case dropped or reduced.
To discover more about our legal services and to book your free consultation, phone our law offices now at (941)-444-4444.