Facing any kind of criminal charges in Pinellas County can be overwhelming. An arrest does not always result in a conviction. Regardless of whether you are facing a misdemeanor offense or a serious felony offense, there is a lot at stake. You must understand all of your legal options.
You deserve to seek the services of reputable and experienced criminal defense attorneys. One of our attorneys at The Law Place will be able to work with you to ensure that your rights are preserved. They will do all they can to try and get your charges reduced or dropped. We serve clients in Saint Petersburg and across the whole of Pinellas County.
To schedule your free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys, call us now at (941)-444-4444.
What Is a DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Saint Petersburg, FL. It is committed by a driver who operates their vehicle while intoxicated with alcohol and/ or drugs in their system over the legal limit. DUI is also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI.)
You will experience a DUI arrest in Florida if you are caught driving impaired by any of the following:
- A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher for adults. Minors can be arrested if they are caught with a BAC of .02% or higher.
- Chemical substances.
- Controlled substances.
Is DUI the Same as Drunk Driving?
Drunk driving is the same as DUI. Drinking and driving are classed as DUI, and depending on how much the driver has been drinking will depend on whether they experience a DUI arrest.
We advise that regardless of how much alcohol a person has consumed, they should not get behind the wheel. Although a driver may feel sober, alcohol may still be in their system. We understand that innocent mistakes happen, but DUI convictions carry severe penalties, which is why you need a St Petersburg DUI lawyer if you are facing charges.
The Penalties for DUI
If you get caught by a law enforcement officer driving under the influence, you may have to face some very harsh penalties. In the interest of public safety, the law is strict when it comes to these traffic offenses in Pinellas County. The severity of the penalties you could face will depend on how many prior DUI charges you have.
DUI offenders who are caught for the first time with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under .15% could be charged with the following penalties:
- A fine of up to $1,000.
- Up to six months of jail time.
- 50 hours of community service.
- Up to one year of probation.
- DUI school.
- Vehicle impoundment for 10 days.
- A driver’s license suspension between 180 days and one year.
First-time offenders caught with a BAC above .15% can expect to face much harsher penalties if convicted. They may be required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
Second DUI offenses carry more severe penalties than first-time offenses. The severity of the penalties will also depend on how much time has passed since the first offense was committed. For example, if you are arrested for DUI within five years of your first conviction, you will likely face jail time. A judge will impose that you serve a minimum of 10 days imprisonment and you have a driver’s license revocation. You can expect to suffer a license suspension for about five years.
Some of the typical penalties for a second DUI include:
- A fine of up to $2,000.
- Up to nine months of jail time.
- Up to one year of probation.
- Vehicle impoundment for 30 days.
- A requirement for the installation of an ignition interlock device for a minimum of six months.
- A driver’s license suspension between 180 days and one year.
If you have been arrested for DUI for the third time within a decade of committing your first offense, you may face a felony conviction. Felony convictions are the most serious kind of DUI offense. Penalties for felony convictions include up to 15 years of jail time and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Being caught driving under the influence by a law enforcement officer in ordinary circumstances is punished severely. However, if you have been caught driving under the influence while causing a traffic accident that caused a death, you will face even more severe punishment. Causing the death of another person or pregnancy is a second-degree felony conviction. This is a major offense.
Depending on the Judge ruling on your case in court, you could face up to 15 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Often in these cases, the minimum jail sentence is four years for an offender.
DUI on a Boat
If you are caught operating a boat while impaired, you can be arrested for DUI. A lot of people assume that DUI charges can only be handed to road users, but that is not the case. In St. Petersburg, FL., it is illegal to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol and/ or drugs. The BAC limit is the same as it is for road users, .08%. The penalties given to boat DUI cases are equally as severe as the penalties given to road users.
If you or someone you know has suffered DUI arrests for operating a boat while intoxicated, you need to contact our criminal defense firm today. A DUI attorney at The Law Place will do all they can to get your charges dropped or reduced. Our DUI defense team has accumulated a vast amount of experience and knowledge. This could prove to be very beneficial to your case. DUI on a boat is a serious offense that needs to be handled by a reputable law firm.
How Much Alcohol Can I Legally Consume and Drive?
When you intake alcohol or drugs, the substances slowly get absorbed into your bloodstream. Your liver then has the task of breaking those particles down.
One drink of alcohol is measured in different ways, depending on what the alcohol being consumed is. For example, a drink of beer typically equates to 12 ounces. However, a drink of wine equates to around to 5 ounces and whiskey to 1.5 ounces. This is a relatively low amount of alcohol for the average drinker.
Our bodies can only process around one drink every hour. When someone drinks more than what their body can process, their blood alcohol concentration level will rise. This will consequently cause someone to become intoxicated. Driving while intoxicated is very dangerous because it slows down reaction times, results in poor judgments being made, and results in a general lack of awareness.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on a Driving Record?
DUI convictions remain on driving records for 75 years. For most offenders, this is a lifetime. People who have DUI convictions on their criminal records can struggle to find future employment and travel internationally. These traffic violations are even more severe because they cannot be expunged from a criminal record. This means that once convicted, you will be unable to remove your conviction from your record. This is why you must contact DUI lawyers if you are facing a conviction.
Criminal defense lawyers will try and get your DUI dropped or at least reduced to a charge of reckless driving. Lesser charges, such as reckless driving, can be expunged from your record.
It is far easier for lawyers to get first-offense DUI cases reduced than cases that have had previous DUI convictions. However, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. We don’t condone these criminal cases but we understand that mistakes do happen. One mistake should not change your life forever. The sooner you get in contact with our law office, the better.
What Should I Do at the Scene of a DUI in Saint Petersburg?
If ever you get stopped in your vehicle by a law enforcement officer, it is important to remain calm. If you think you may be driving under the influence, there are a few things you should do. These are listed below.
Cooperate With Testing
A law enforcement officer will likely try and make you complete field sobriety tests. You can refuse to complete breath/ chemical and field sobriety tests. There are no punishments for refusing a field sobriety test, but there are punishments if you refuse to complete a chemical or breath test.
Therefore, you should cooperate with law enforcement officers. An experienced DUI lawyer may be able to prove that your breath test results were inaccurate or skewed at a later date. In these criminal defense cases, a DUI lawyer could argue that the test was administered incorrectly or wasn’t calibrated properly.
If a law enforcement officer in Saint Petersburg in Pinellas County arrests you for DUI charges, you should remain quiet. You must speak to a DUI lawyer before you give a statement to the police. At the scene of the offense, you should be polite and answer simple questions, but avoid giving away too many details. Being respectful to law enforcement helps aid your defense case.
If you are aware that you were driving a vehicle intoxicated, you should not apologize or admit fault to a law enforcement officer. As soon as you do, it will be held against you. This can make it difficult to get your DUI charge reduced or dropped.
How Can an Experienced DUI Lawyer Help Me?
A DUI lawyer at The Law Place can help you in various ways. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, the first thing you should do is call a lawyer. One of our lawyers will be able to offer you some honest legal advice immediately. If you contact us within 10 days of your arrest, one of our lawyers can help you apply for a driving permit. This would enable you to continue to drive while you await the outcome of your case.
Following that, a criminal defense lawyer can offer you legal representation and guide you support through all of the legal proceedings. A lawyer will also gather the necessary evidence to build you a strong defense case.
When you first call one of our criminal defense lawyers, you will be able to schedule a free consultation with us. In this meeting, we will explain our fee structure and answer any questions you have. At this stage, if you choose that you don’t want to proceed with our firm, that’s okay! If you decide that you would like to be legally represented by one of our lawyers, they will begin work immediately on your DUI defense case.
Can I Get My DUI Charge Dropped if I Have Previous Criminal Charges?
It may be possible to get your DUI charge dropped or reduced, even if you have previous criminal charges. This will largely depend on whether you have sought legal representation from a reputable criminal defense firm. DUI offenders who have experienced DUI Defense attorneys working on their cases are far more likely to have their cases dropped than offenders with no legal representation.
Our attorneys have helped countless clients with their DUI cases, and they can help you too. The more convictions you have, the more difficult it will be for an attorney to get your charge dropped or reduced. However, this does not mean it’s impossible.
If you have been arrested for DUI and already have several convictions on your record, you should contact The Law Place today. The penalties for a guilty DUI case can change lives forever. To give yourself the best chance of avoiding punishment, you need the help of a reputable criminal defense law firm.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
Ignition interlock devices are small devices that can be installed inside vehicles. The purpose of these devices is to act as a preventative measure. They will prevent a vehicle from being operated if the driver is intoxicated. For them to work, they require the driver to take a breath test. A vehicle will then only start if the results are clear.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has clearly outlined the guidelines surrounding the use of these devices. The amount of time that offenders have to use these devices will depend on their conviction.
These small devices can prove to have a massive impact on a person’s day-to-day life. If you wish to ensure that you avoid the requirement of having one of these devices or want to limit the time you have with one, you need to contact a DUI defense lawyer.
Contact The Law Place Today!
It can be a frightening time following an arrest, but The Law Place is here for you. If you have been arrested for DUI, you must have a reputable lawyer backing your case. The vast knowledge and experience that our legal team has gathered in Florida law over the years will be a huge benefit to your case. We will work to build you a strong defense strategy. You can feel rest assured knowing that by seeking our help, you will be giving yourself the best chance you have of getting your charges reduced or dropped.
We have represented clients all over the state of Florida. No matter where you have suffered your arrest, we can help you.
Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To book your free consultation with an experienced member of our team, call us now at (941)-444-4444.