In Tampa, there are many attractive restaurants and bars to go to with family and friends to enjoy a nice drink together. However, if you have one drink too many and get in the driver’s seat, there is a strong possibility of you being pulled over by a Tampa police officer and getting charged with a DUI. In this case, you might be feeling uncertain about what happens next. Your best option is to hire a skilled and knowledgeable DUI lawyer to fight for your rights and strengthen your defense in a DUI charge.
Don’t hesitate to make your next move if you have been charged with a DUI in Tampa. At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of collective experience in working together to defend DUI cases. If this is your first time being arrested for DUI, we empathize with the pressure and frustration that you might be going through. A criminal defense lawyer from our law firm will prepare the best possible DUI defense and help you feel secure about your case. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact The Law Place now on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation, and we will fight your DUI charge together.
What Is a DUI in Tampa, FL?
If you were caught driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) over .08, then this is charged as a DUI, which is a criminal offense.
If minors are caught with a BAC of only 0.2, then they will be charged with a DUI, as Florida is a zero-tolerance state for underage drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol.
DWI stands for (driving while intoxicated), and it is equivalent to a DUI. DWI can be used interchangeably, depending on the police officer who arrested you or the court official.
DUI is the same charge used against individuals who are caught driving under the influence of illegal drugs or even prescription drugs while on the road. A DUI is known as a misdemeanor, but other drug charges, such as being caught in possession of illegal drugs, can become felonies that are charged in addition to the DUI.
What Tests Are Used to Prove a DUI in Tampa, FL?
In Tampa, police officers have various tests and methods that they can use to prove that a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Coordination exams – This might be the quickest way to prove intoxication in a driver. A police officer will ask you to perform tasks such as balancing on one foot, touching your nose, or walking in a straight line to see if you can do so without stumbling or falling.
- Verbal exams – A police officer will ask you to repeat the alphabet backward or a different verbal practice as a test to see if you slur when you are talking or if you experience cognitive difficulty performing the task.
- Breathalyzer test – Police officers will carry the breathalyzer device that drivers are asked to blow air into. This will then measure the infrared light in order to detect alcohol molecules in the driver’s mouth.
- HGN test – This is also known as the horizontal gaze nystagmus. Police officers will test the driver’s eye response to sudden light or the ability to track its movement.
- Blood/ urine test – This is usually performed at the police station or a specialized testing vehicle. BAC or drugs in the system can be measured very accurately by taking blood or urine chemical tests.
In the State of Florida, you have the right to refuse these exams or tests. However, the implied consent law states that you will automatically lose your driver’s license for up to one year as a result, according to Florida Statute 316.1932.
What Qualifies as a Misdemeanor DUI in Tampa, FL?
A DUI case is usually charged as a misdemeanor crime in Tampa, which usually means it is unlikely you will go to prison. However, if you are found guilty, you can still potentially be sent to jail and receive a hefty fine for your DUI charge. It is important to note that both first and second time DUI charges are usually classed as misdemeanors, as long as there were no serious injuries or damages caused.
Possible consequences for a DUI misdemeanor charge includes:
- Probation time.
- Acts of community service.
- AA meetings mandated by the court.
- Hefty fines.
- Attending driving school.
- A prison sentence (of up to 6 months).
- Suspension of driver’s license for 6-12 months.
What Qualifies as a Felony DUI in Tampa, FL?
In the event that you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and it results in an accident, then your charge might possibly be escalated to a felony offense. It is worth noting that third or fourth Tampa DUIs are also charged as felonies.
Possible penalties for a DUI felony charge includes:
- Permanent suspension of your driver’s license.
- Jail time.
- Even larger fines.
Felonies are much more severe in nature than a misdemeanor crime, and they should be taken very seriously. A felony conviction will receive sentencing after a probationary court hearing, where the terms of probation are given to the offender. If additional offenses are committed while under a probationary period, this can result in returning to prison, and more charges issued related to violating the terms of probation.
If you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony charge, then you will be in need of a skilled DUI defense attorney. At The Law Place, we have dealt with hundreds of DUI cases, and we have a team of dedicated DUI defense attorneys who are willing to fight for your rights. If this is your first time being caught driving under the influence of alcohol or receiving a DUI conviction, then there is no need to be concerned. Contact our law firm now for a free consultation, and a criminal defense attorney will be there to assist you.
DUI Statistics in Tampa, FL.
There were 8,053 car accident deaths associated with alcohol in the State of Florida from the years 2004 – 2016, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Every year, the Tampa Police Department takes note of the number of drivers who are arrested for DUI. The below summary helps distinguish between investigations involving a DUI law enforcement police officer pulling a driver over and a self-initiating stop.
The Tampa Police Department made 2,087 DUI arrests, according to the DUI Arrests Summary for 2016. However, they made only 1,729 DUI arrests in 2017, which is a drop of 16.8%.
In 2016 and 2017, over one-half of the arrests were self-initiated. It is worth noting that less than half of the DUI cases involved the DUI law enforcement police officer being sent to the scene.
The summary of 2016 observed the different types of DUI cases, which included:
- Crash (DUI related) at 13.8%.
- Wrong-way driver (DUI arrest) at 5.7%.
- Superior Response to Fatal / SBI Crash at 0%.
- Supervisor DUI Assist at 5.3%.
- DUI checkpoint arrests at 0.5%.
The summary of 2016 identified the different types of DUI:
- Breath above .08% BrAC at 49.1%.
- Urine, blood, or refusal at 49.3%.
- .000-.079% at 1.6%.
The summary of 2016 also broke down the breath testing readings. The BAC range was:
- 21.5% at .080-.149
- 17.3% at .150-.199
- 7.4% at .200-.249
- 2.5% at .250-.299
- .04% at .300 or over
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) states the downward trend of DUI arrests and driving under the influence of alcohol-associated deaths in the Annual Report for 2017. There are four listed reasons that might have contributed to the reduction of deaths:
- Rideshare companies – Uber and Lyft have grown in popularity in Tampa, and many citizens are beginning to use their rideshare services more and more. They have become the safer form of transportation to reach home after going out for a night of drinking, which has helped to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road.
- Education – People’s views on drunk driving have been affected by state educational programs, ad campaigns, and discussions on the topic. More and more people are becoming aware of the consequences of drunk driving.
- Enforcement – Police officers have enforced stricter rules on the road throughout the State of Florida, which has helped to reduce the number of people who get away with drunk driving.
- Less young, inexperienced drivers – More young people are using rideshare apps to get around as they don’t have immediate access to a car, which has reduced the number of young people driving drunk in Tampa.
The Law Place doesn’t want you to become another statistic in Florida. A DUI lawyer from our firm will defend your case and fight for your rights, even if this is your first time receiving a DUI charge. Contact our law firm now for a free consultation to discuss your case options and defense strategies.
Can a Defense Attorney Get a DUI Dismissed in Tampa, FL?
A skilled DUI defense attorney can take the evidence that is being used against you and turn it to your advantage by challenging the evidence’s legitimacy. This is one of the principal methods used by a DUI attorney to get your case dropped. An experienced DUI attorney will confront:
- Field sobriety tests – Any kind of sobriety test carried out by a police officer is required to be executed in line with the laws and regulations of the State of Florida.
- Process of arrest – A police officer might have illegally stopped you on the road without a reasonable explanation or cause of suspicion. Any kind of evidence might be deemed inadmissible as a result of the circumstances of the stop.
- Recorded observations – During any kind of traffic stop, police officers are required to take official notes. However, their observations could be deemed false or illegitimate.
- Blood alcohol tests – Any kind of chemical test, such as a blood test or a breathalyzer, is required to be administered with recognized consent.
Is a DUI Lawyer Worth It in Tampa, FL?
A DUI defense lawyer from The Law Place will be able to help you fight the charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, regardless of if this is your first DUI charge or not. We are unable to guarantee the outcome that you might have in mind for your case, but it is still essential that you hire the skills and knowledge of an esteemed DUI attorney.
It might seem expensive to hire the services of a DUI attorney, but the cost of an attorney is nowhere in the same price range as the costs you will be facing if you are convicted without legal aid. Without a DUI defense, you will be facing a much bigger risk than you might realize. Receiving a fine and the loss of your freedom outweigh the expenses of hiring the services of a valuable DUI defense attorney. We can fight for your rights and possibly get the charges against you reduced or even dropped.
Our law firm has a team of highly sought after criminal defense attorneys who can talk you through the process and handle your case. Schedule a free consultation with a DUI attorney in Tampa today. The Law Place is here to answer your questions and be there for you when you need it the most.
What Happens if I Don’t Hire a DUI Lawyer in Tampa?
If you cannot afford to pay for a Tampa DUI attorney to fight your case, you are entitled to hire a public defender to help you, which will be provided and paid for by the State of Florida. Even if this is your first DUI, having the skills and knowledge of an attorney on your side will make all the difference for your case.
However, if you don’t have an attorney on your side, then you are completely at the mercy of the prosecution, and the final verdict of the court will decide your fate. You could possibly argue and negotiate with the court on your own, but without knowledge and awareness of the laws in Florida, it is unlikely that you will be able to beat a DUI case.
What Happens if I Receive a DUI Conviction in Tampa?
It important that you recognize that a DUI conviction will remain on your driving license for up to 75 years, which is essentially one person’s lifetime. You will not have the option to expunge or seal a DUI conviction in Tampa. Furthermore, if you are convicted of a DUI, the offense will remain on your criminal history forever, as stated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
You may be eligible to seal your record if your case is amended or reduced from a DUI charge to a reckless driving charge. If your case resulted in a withhold of adjudication on a reckless driving conviction, then this would make you eligible to seal your record, as long as you have no other convictions on your criminal record. However, convictions on your record are not only limited to being in the State of Florida. If you committed a crime outside of the state and were adjudicated to be guilty, you will be prohibited from sealing in Florida.
A DUI lawyer will be immensely helpful after getting arrested. There have been cases where evidence has disappeared or been erased, and memories of the event will slip over time if evidence has not been kept and persevered.
It is important to add that a DUI conviction will lead to a compulsory increase in your driver’s insurance in the State of Florida. The department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) requires that you get a special type of insurance called FR44, and they will ask you to carry this on your policy for up to 36 months. It is mandatory for this special insurance to be paid within six months, and it is often very expensive.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney at The Law Place Now
Did you receive a charge for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Tampa? Is this your first DUI charge? Are you feeling scared and uncertain about your job or your future? The good news is that you can hire the expertise and prowess of a DUI attorney from The Law Place today. Our law firm has over 75 years of combined experience in defending DUI cases and developing the best possible criminal defense to protect our clients’ driving privileges.
If you wish to receive legal advice from a reputable law firm in the State of Florida, then reach out and contact The Law Place now. We can offer you a free consultation, where we will give you some honest, unbiased advice on how to best approach your case. We will discuss your options and potential defense strategies that we could take to court.
Our law firm empathizes with your situation, and we want to support you in any way that we can. We will do everything in our power to hopefully get your charges reduced or possibly even dropped. Reach out and schedule a free consultation now. Our office’s phone lines are open 24/7 so that we can be there for you when you need it the most. Call us on (941) 444-4444, and we will be at your side every step of the way, fighting your DUI case together.