Driving under the Influence (DUI) is considered a serious offense in St. Petersburg, FL. In fact, the punishments range anywhere from a misdemeanor to a felony. If you are facing a DUI for the first time, you may be confused about what factors decide the final charge you will receive. Well, the severity of your punishment will depend on varying factors within your case and the circumstances under which you were arrested. This is where a criminal defense lawyer comes in. The state laws of Florida are complicated and can be overwhelming for those without experience. Hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer will give you the best chance of having your charges reduced or dropped altogether, not to mention the invaluable advice and support they will give you throughout the entire process.
A driver might be charged with a DUI if they were caught in full control of a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as per Florida Statute 316.193. The exact details of what constitutes intoxication can be found under Florida Statute 877.111 and include chemical substances like prescription medication, illicit drugs, and some over-the-counter products. However, it is important to remember that you can still be arrested and face criminal charges even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was under 0.08%. The prosecution simply has to provide evidence that clearly shows you were intoxicated whilst in control of a vehicle.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for driving whilst under the influence and are facing criminal charges, then you need the help of a criminal defense St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney today. Being charged with a DUI is an extremely serious situation to be in and could change the course of your life forever. At The Law Place, we understand how daunting this prospect must be, especially if it’s your first experience with the law. We have over 75 years of combined experience in fighting charges just like yours. Our clients are our main priority which is why we offer a free consultation service, giving you the chance to get confidential and impartial advice before making a final decision. Do not face the Florida legal system on your own. Call The Law Place today and schedule a free case evaluation with one of our defense attorneys now. Phone lines are open 24/7.
What Is a DUI in St. Petersburg, FL?
The acronym DUI stands for driving under the influence and can be defined as a driver who is in complete control of a moving vehicle whilst they are intoxicated by alcohol.
Another term you may have heard is a DWI which means driving whilst intoxicated. This term is used to describe those in control of a vehicle whilst under the influence of drugs, illicit or otherwise. These two terms are legally equal to each other and are often used interchangeably by law enforcement officers. The term under which you are charged will simply depend on the arresting police officer or the court official.
That is to say, being charged with a DUI or a DWI means that you were driving whilst your senses were not functioning normally due to your consumption of drugs, alcohol, or both.
It is considered criminal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or over by The Legal Information Institute, and being caught doing so constitutes an arrest and criminal charge.
Another thing to remember is that minors are not exempt from receiving DUIs. If a minor is caught in control of a vehicle whilst their BAC is 0.02 or higher, they can face criminal charges. The State of Florida has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving and seeks to ensure that minors are held responsible for their actions.
Fortunately, most DUI cases are charged as misdemeanors, especially if you are a first-time offender. However, this does not mean that you cannot face more serious charges. In the event that your case includes possession of illegal substances or prescription drugs, then your charges may increase to a felony. In fact, cases can see charges increase rapidly when there is another criminal activity involved.
If you are facing either a felony or misdemeanor charge, then you need a St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer today. At The Law Place, we know just how serious the situation is and how important strong legal representation can be. Call us now to schedule a free consultation.
For a free legal consultation with a misdemeanor dui lawyer serving St. Petersburg, call 941-444-4444
The Law on DUI in St. Petersburg, FL.
If you are facing a first-time DUI charge in which there are no other factors that would make it a ‘special case,’ such as serious bodily injury, then the chances are that you will be given a misdemeanor. This charge would increase for first or second-time DUI offenders only if their intoxication led to more serious consequences like property damage and physical injury to another.
But what exactly are the penalties for DUI charges?
If you are charged with a first misdemeanor DUI in St. Petersburg, FL., you will face:
- A prison sentence of up to six months.
- A fine of up to $1,000.
- A suspended driver’s license of up to one year.
- Enrollment at a DUI school.
So we know that being caught driving under the influence (DUI) for the first time will likely result in a misdemeanor. This is a best-case scenario. But what happens if the charges are more serious? Well, there are four possible charges that you could face if you receive a felony:
- Being charged with a third DUI charge in 10 years – Being caught driving under the influence for a third time within a ten-year period carries a punishment of a third-degree felony. The consequences of this include a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Being charged with a fourth DUI charge – Regardless of the period between offenses, being convicted of a fourth DUI will result in a third-degree felony. Those charged face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Being charged with a DUI that caused serious bodily injury – Anyone caught operating a vehicle whilst under the influence, leading to an accident that inflicted serious bodily injury on another, carries a third-degree felony charge. The punishment is again up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. However, in this case, the defendant may also have to provide financial compensation to the victim for damages like medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Being charged with DUI manslaughter – If you are facing charges of DUI manslaughter after causing an accident that led to the wrongful death of another, then you may face a second-degree felony charge. This charge is more serious than the last and carries a punishment of up to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Plus, like with the previous charge, you may also be required to provide the family of the deceased with reparations, which would go towards expenses like funeral costs and losses of income.
Have you or a loved one been arrested on DUI charges and are unsure where to turn for help? The best advice we can give you is to ensure that you hire a criminal defense lawyer with enough experience to minimize the overall effect this has on your life.
The Law Place in St. Petersburg, Florida, has a team of criminal defense lawyers who are passionate about helping those who need us most. We know that these charges will affect not only yourself but your family too. Furthermore, the repercussions of a felony charge will extend well into your future, increasing insurance premiums and affecting your ability to find worthwhile employment.
Let us build you a defense that questions the legitimacy of the evidence against you and sees that you do not face the life-long consequences of a criminal record. Call us today and arrange a free consultation with a defense attorney.
St. Petersburg Misdemeanor DUI Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
What Tests Are Used to Prove a DUI in St. Petersburg, FL?
There are a number of different DUI testing methods that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement uses to prove the guilt of a driver. Included in this list are:
- Verbal exams – In this test, the driver will be asked by a police officer to recite the alphabet both forwards and backward. There are also other verbal tests that may be used in place of this. However, the ultimate goal is to see how quick your cognitive abilities are and if you are able to pronounce everything correctly without slurring. This test should be easily completed by anyone who is not under the influence.
- Breathalyzer test – A very common method of determining the toxins in someone’s body is through a breathalyzer test. Most drivers who are pulled over will be asked to complete this test which measures the molecules of alcohol in a person’s mouth, proving their sobriety or not.
- Coordination exam – This is a quick and effective method of determining how sober a driver is. A law enforcement officer will usually instruct a person to exit their vehicles and stand on one foot or walk in a straight line. An inability to do either of these tasks gives a clear indication that a person’s ability to control their motor functions is impaired.
- HGN test – This stands for horizontal gaze nystagmus test and is carried out by shining a bright light into a driver’s eye in order to determine how responsive their pupils are to brightness. When there is alcohol is in a person’s system, their eyes involuntarily jerk to the side, more so than those who aren’t under the influence.
- Blood or urine test – In some circumstances, a driver may deny that they have consumed alcohol or drugs entirely. This can be proven or disproven by a simple blood or urine test at the local police station or testing vehicle. Here, there will be necessary equipment to accurately determine how the quantity of substances or BAC present in the driver’s body.
Anyone who refuses to take a DUI exam when instructed by a police officer is not breaking the law. However, it is important to know that there are implied consent laws that may result in your license being revoked for up to one year, as outlined under Florida Statute 316.1932.
Hiring the legal representation of an experienced defense attorney will significantly strengthen your chances of getting a sentence reduction. Your attorney will challenge the accuracy and results of the tests you took and attempt to prove in court that you were not entirely at fault. Call The Law Place in St. Petersburg, Florida, today and arrange your free initial consultation.
Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Get a DUI Case Dismissed in St. Petersburg, FL?
At The Law Place, we are proud of our long history of working on DUI cases in St. Petersburg, FL., in which we have helped hundreds of clients through one of the hardest ordeals in their lives. This wealth of experience means that our team of criminal defense lawyers specializes in representing those facing charges of driving whilst under the influence. All of our attorneys have the skills to look at the details of your case and build a strong plan with which to move forward. Building a strong DUI defense and increasing your chances of avoiding conviction will not be possible without the help of an attorney that you trust.
One key method of defense that our criminal defense lawyers use is using the evidence against you to your advantage. We can do this by poking holes in the prosecution and police, questioning the legitimacy of their evidence and the police report. You need an attorney with the skills to also oppose:
- The process of arrest – There is a chance that your lawyer can prove that the law enforcement officer pulled you over unlawfully, without a reason to necessitate suspicion. If they are able to do so, any evidence presented by this officer could be considered inadmissible in court.
- Field sobriety tests – Your attorney will ensure that any field sobriety tests you underwent were held legally in conjunction with Florida state law.
- Recorded observations – All police officers have a duty to take notes throughout a traffic stop they have made. Your attorney may be able to provide evidence that shows these recorded observations were inaccurate or false.
- Blood alcohol tests – If you underwent a breathalyzer test, then the prosecution must be able to prove this happened with acknowledged consent from the defendant.
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What Happens if You Don’t Hire a DUI Lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL?
If you decide not to hire a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney due to the financial burden, then you have the right to a public defender. This will be a lawyer who is provided by the State of Florida for free. Whilst this the only option some people have, we urge you to consider the bigger picture.
Hiring an attorney at The Law Place will see that you are being represented by someone who has the skills and knowledge that a public defender may not. Remember, you have no say over who the state assigns to your case. Having the autonomy to hire an attorney that you trust and has the clients’ declarations to back them up can be the difference between freedom and a life-long criminal record.
If you decide against taking the help of legal aid altogether, then you are entirely defenseless and will face the full extent of the prosecution’s power. Ultimately, your future will lie entirely in the hands of the judge and jury. Of course, you have the choice to represent yourself. However, this is extremely inadvisable. The legal system in Florida is complex and takes years to properly understand. Hiring a DUI lawyer is your best chance of success.
Contact The Law Place Today to Arrange a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges after being caught driving under the influence, then you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney now. You must be concerned about what the future holds for you and your family and whether your life will ever be the same again.
That is why we are here! At The Law Place, we have a team of lawyers who have over 75 years of combined experience in fighting for people in positions just like yours. We understand the toll that facing criminal charges can take on a person’s life. This is why we are committed to using our skills in order to ensure that our clients have a support system throughout the entire legal process.
We are proud of our attorney-client relationships that prove time and again just how invaluable our advice can be. Make sure you are being represented by someone who is not afraid to stand up for your rights in front of a judge and jury and will pull out all the stops to see you free. Let us help you in any way that we can by calling us today.
If you are facing charges of driving whilst under the influence, then you have found exactly what you need at The Law Place. Contact us now and schedule a free consultation with a member of our team. We promise to provide you with confidential advice, give you an idea of what steps you can take next, and begin to explore some possible defenses for your case.
Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so what are you waiting for? Contact us today.