- What Does It Mean to Be in Control of a Vehicle?
- What to Do at the Scene of a Dui Accident in Sarasota FL
- Refusing to Take a Breath, Blood or Urine Test in Sarasota FL
- What to Do in the Days After a Dui Accident in Sarasota FL
- Contact a Sarasota Attorney
- Request a Hearing
- Dui Involving Illegal Drugs in Sarasota FL
- Dui Involving Legal Drugs in Sarasota FL
- The Importance of a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer in a Dui Case
In Florida, a DUI is defined as driving or being in control of a vehicle while normal faculties are impaired. DUI laws in Florida prohibit driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above. It also restricts people from driving when impaired by drugs, including both illegal and legal substances.
A DUI conviction can result in serious and life-changing consequences. The penalties arising from a DUI could include mandatory classes, community service, counseling sessions, probation, court costs, expensive fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and even jail time. In Florida, a DUI conviction will remain on your record for 75 years and can hurt your future prospects for education and employment. That is why you need help from an experienced Sarasota criminal defense attorney who can guide you through the legal process.
At The Law Place, we have a long history of dealing with road accidents and DUI cases in Sarasota County and throughout the state of Florida. Unlike other law firms, we work as a team to ensure that you can benefit from our combined knowledge and experience, which collectively spans over 70 years. We are available 24 hours a day so that you can speak to us when you need us most. Contact us today at (941) 444-4444 for a no-obligation, free consultation.
What Does It Mean to Be in Control of a Vehicle?
In Sarasota, FL, you do not need to be driving to be charged with a DUI. You simply have to be ‘in actual physical control of a vehicle.’ This means that you had the capability to use the vehicle, such as if you were sat behind the wheel and had the keys available to you. The car itself does not need to be moving.
If you are suspected of a DUI in a stationary vehicle, you should take this as seriously as if you were actually driving. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney Sarasota Florida, as soon as you can.
What to Do at the Scene of a Dui Accident in Sarasota FL
There are specific steps you should take after any road accident. However, if you have had something to drink or you could be under the influence of any drug, then the steps you take will be slightly different. DUI cases are taken very seriously in Sarasota, FL; therefore, you need to take extra care and contact a lawyer as soon as you can.
- Check-in – After an accident, the first thing you should do is check for any injuries. If possible, then move into a safe place.
- Call for emergency assistance – If necessary, then call for an ambulance to tend to any injuries.
- Report the accident – State law in Sarasota FL requires you to report a road accident that caused substantial property damage or injury to the police within ten days. However, in most cases, someone will call the police to the scene of the accident.
- Avoid making any written or oral statements to police officers – If you are suspected to be at fault for the accident, and a DUI is suspected, then you should contact a criminal defense attorney in Sarasota, FL before you make a statement to the police.
- Cooperate with testing (or not) – You are free not to take a breath/chemical or field sobriety test. In fact, there is no legal punishment for refusing to participate in a field sobriety test (walk and turn, stand on one leg, horizontal gaze) in Sarasota, FL. But there are consequences for refusing a breath or chemical test. You could be ticketed for non-compliance and have to pay administrative and criminal penalties.
- Gather information – Get the name, phone number, and vehicle information of anyone else involved in the incident. Also, gather information from any witnesses, including names and phone numbers. This is especially important if you do not think you were at fault as important information could be missed in the police report.
- Take pictures – If you can, take photos of the scene. Your photos should include the vehicles involved in the incident and anything else that could be relevant, such as parked cars or skid marks.
- Don’t leave the scene – If you are under the influence of anything, it might be tempting to leave the scene. However, this could trigger a hit and run claim, which is a felony, especially if someone is injured or property is damaged.
Refusing to Take a Breath, Blood or Urine Test in Sarasota FL
When you operate a motor vehicle in Sarasota, FL, state law deems you to have given your consent for tests to detect drugs or alcohol if lawfully arrested for a potential DUI. However, you can refuse to take such tests unless you are involved in an accident that has caused serious bodily injury or death to a human being.
That being said, refusing tests is not without costs in Sarasota, FL. The law permits the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) to suspend your driving license for up to one year for a first refusal and eighteen months or a subsequent refusal. A subsequent refusal is also a misdemeanor. Furthermore, refusing a test can be used against you in court proceedings.
What to Do in the Days After a Dui Accident in Sarasota FL
Following a DUI accident in Sarasota County, you must take the right steps to navigate the legal process. This could have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.
Contact a Sarasota Attorney
It is a good idea to contact an experienced Sarasota lawyer, such as those found at The Law Place, as soon as possible following a DUI accident. A DUI is a serious charge, and you must have representation from committed DUI lawyers.
Request a Hearing
If you are arrested for driving under the influence in Sarasota FL, you have just ten days to request an administrative hearing (also called a formal review hearing) with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. If you neglect to do this, then you waiver your right to challenge the suspension of your driving license. Your Sarasota DUI attorney can help you to fill out the paperwork correctly.
Your DUI attorney can also help you to apply for a temporary driving permit for work, school, religious and medical purposes.
The formal review hearing is an integral part of your case because the department of motor vehicle hearing officers will make significant judgments. They will decide if the officer had probable cause to arrest you and whether you were adequately informed of the consequences of not taking urine, blood, or breath test.
At your hearing, your Sarasota DUI defense lawyer will cross-examine witnesses such as the arresting officer, as well as subpoena any documents that could be used in a subsequent criminal trial.
Dui Involving Illegal Drugs in Sarasota FL
DUI laws mean that it is unlawful to operate or be in control of a motor vehicle if your normal facilities are impaired. This includes illegal substances, prescription medications, or over-the-counter medications.
Drug charges in Florida are some of the most harshly judged crimes. A conviction could result in a lengthy prison sentence and a stigma that could make it hard for you to find work in the future.
If you were under the influence of illegal drugs during an accident, then you will need to speak to a Sarasota DUI attorney, having an experienced lawyer on your side can make a big difference. Call The Law Place today for a free consultation.
Dui Involving Legal Drugs in Sarasota FL
DUI charges are serious. Many people are aware that it is dangerous to drive when under the influence of alcohol or an illicit drug such as cocaine or heroin. However, many people do not realize that legal drugs can be just as dangerous, and you could still be charged with a DUI.
Many legal drugs can cause drowsiness and blurred vision, such as allergy and pain medications. Lots of these drugs will come with a warning not to operate heavy machinery. Therefore you should avoid driving when under the influence of any substance, which could hinder your driving ability.
Unlike alcohol, there is no legal limit for being under the influence of drugs while driving. This means that you could still be charged with a DUI even if you were taking prescription medication legally. However, this can be challenged by a good criminal defense attorney. Your DUI defense lawyer can argue that it is impossible to prove that the incident occurred as a result of the drug you had taken.
If you are facing the potential a DUI conviction, even if you believe that you were taking a drug entirely legally, consequences can be severe. Having a Florida criminal defense lawyer to fight your corner could be the difference between a criminal conviction and having your case dismissed. At The Law Place, we understand how overwhelming and stressful this can be, that is why we offer a free consultation.
The Importance of a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer in a Dui Case
If you are facing a DUI charge or another criminal traffic violation in Sarasota, FL, then it is essential you have a qualified lawyer representing you in court. DUI lawyers can challenge the evidence brought against you and may help to reduce your charges or, in some cases, even have them dismissed.
At The Law Place, we understand how difficult it is to face a Sarasota DUI charge. Our criminal defense lawyers have a vast amount of experience and will fight for you every step of the way.
Contact us today on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation with a qualified lawyer.