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. We cover both personal injury and criminal defense. This knowledge of both sides of the courtroom gives us a clear advantage when representing your case.
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 sitting 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 in Sarasota, Florida, as soon as you can.
For a free legal consultation with a dui lawyer serving Sarasota, call 941-444-4444
What to Do at the Scene of a DUI Accident in FL Sarasota
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.
After an accident, the first thing you should do is check for any injuries. If possible, then move to a safe place.
Call For Emergency Assistance
If necessary, then call for an ambulance to tend to any injuries.
Report The Accident
Florida law requires you to report a road accident that caused substantial property damage or injury to the law enforcement officers at 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
Under criminal law, 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.
We recommend that people cooperate with all testing. Making the lives of law enforcement officers difficult often works against you. Yoru attorney can work to question the legitimacy of sobriety tests later on.
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.
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.
Contact a Criminal Trial Attorney
Contact an experienced criminal trial attorney, such as those found at The Law Place. Hiring an attorney is your best opportunity at having your changes reduced or dropped entirley.
Sarasota DUI Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
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.
Even if the incident did not cause injury or property damage, 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 Arrest 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.
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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.
Your attorney will strive to have your charges dismissed. If the police officers did not act in accordance with legal procedures in any way, then this could work in your favor. If your charges cannot be dropped, then your attorney may be able to fight for a hardship license, so that you can continue to drive to and from work. To secure this, you will need to attend a court-approved DUI school.
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 waive 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 a 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 common 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. 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 of a DUI conviction, even if you believe that you were taking a drug entirely legally, the 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, and 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. If convicted, you could face serious consequences, including a loss of driving privileges or even a jail sentence. Our DWI lawyers have a vast amount of experience and will fight for you every step of the way.
Our practice areas include criminal defense, DUI law, and personal injury, so we can handle whatever your case throws at us. We also cover the entirety of Sarasota County from the Tamiami Trail to Washington Blvd.
Contact our law office today for a free strategy session with an experienced Sarasota DUI Lawyer defense attorney.