A Florida DUI is a serious offense, but if it turns into a felony charge, you will need all of the help that you can possibly get. It can be extremely complex to navigate the laws in Tampa, Florida, on your own. The outcome of your case will largely depend on the specifics of your DUI. But the good news is, you can hire the skills of a DUI criminal defense attorney from The Law Place to help fight your charges.
The law in Florida is commonly misinterpreted, especially when it comes to DUI cases. The most common questions asked by clients tend to be about driving under the influence (DUI) charges and if they count as felony offenses or misdemeanors. It honestly depends on the circumstances and details of your DUI case. Therefore, it can be difficult to answer such a question. Following a DUI charge, we highly recommend that you seek the advice and counsel of a reputable DUI attorney from The Law Place.
Felony charges are extreme offenses, and you could be facing harsh consequences for your mistake. But it will be hugely beneficial looking towards your future if you take your DUI seriously and take responsibility for your actions. This kind of attitude will reflect well on your image and character in front of the court. It will also strengthen your DUI defense case.
At The Law Place, we have years of experience in managing criminal cases from drunk driving to felony charges. A knowledgeable DUI criminal defense attorney from our law firm will explore all the available options, angles, and defense strategies to fight for your rights in court. A DUI attorney will also conduct an in-depth investigation into the details of your DUI charge to find any mitigating factors that could potentially help reduce the severity of your case in the eyes of the court and the prosecutor.
There is no need to be concerned for your future when you have the services of a reputable law firm managing your case and building a fortified DUI defense. Reach out and contact The Law Place now at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation from a skilled Tampa criminal defense attorney, and we will fight for your rights together.
What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor DUI and a Felony DUI in Tampa, FL?
In Florida, a first and second DUI offense is usually filed as a misdemeanor DUI. The penalties of a misdemeanor DUI tend to vary based on the level of your blood alcohol content (BAC) test. In the event that your BAC was between the levels of .08 and .14, then you could possibly be given a fine of up to $1,000 and receive up to six months in prison. You could also receive a one-year maximum driver’s license suspension, probation community service, and attending a course at a DUI school. However, the penalties could potentially be enhanced if your BAC was at or above .15.
A third or fourth DUI offense within a period of 10 years is filed as a felony DUI charge. In the event that a drunk driving accident results in serious injury or wrongful death, then this will also be charged as a felony DUI in the State of Florida. The punishments for a severe felony DUI charge include up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
What Are DUI Charges in Tampa, Florida?
The term DUI stands for ‘driving under the influence,’ which includes drunk driving.
The term DWI stands for ‘driving while intoxicated,’ which includes intoxication of drugs, either illegal or prescription. In other words, a DWI means that the usage of a substance has impaired your normal driving and senses.
According to the State of Florida, you are automatically charged as being guilty of a DUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or more. However, if you are a commercial driver, then the BAC limit is 0.04%.
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is tested by undergoing a blood test or using a breathalyzer. A breathalyzer test works by measuring the alcohol concentration in someone’s breath by asking them to breathe into the device. If the person’s BAC level is high above the legal limit, then they will be arrested and face DUI conviction.
The penalty will be evermore severe if the alcohol limit in the person’s blood is very high. A first time DUI charge will receive a fine between $500 to $1,000. However, the fine is dramatically increased to $2,000 or even more if the blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.15%.
The Law Place has years of experience in dealing with DUI cases, and we can help fight for your rights. Reach out and contact our law firm now for a free consultation in Tampa.
DUI Laws for Minors in Tampa, Florida
The laws in Florida are extremely strict when it comes to underage possession of alcohol. A minor is classed as a person who is aged 21 years and under, and they will be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at 0.02% or above.
A minor facing DUI will also receive a driver’s license suspension for up to six months. However, if it is a second offense, then the suspension increases to a one-year ban.
What Tests Are Used to Prove a DUI in Tampa, FL?
The police force in Tampa has a multitude of tests that they can perform to see if a driver is under the influence, such as:
- Coordination exams – One of the quickest methods to see if the driver is intoxicated by the usage of drugs or alcohol. A police officer will request the driver to step out of the car and then ask them to try balancing on one foot or walking in a straight line. This test will prove if the driver can perform the tasks without tripping or losing their balance.
- Verbal exams – A police officer will request for the driver to go over the alphabet backward or perhaps enact a different kind of verbal test. This test will see if the driver slurs as they are speaking or experiences cognitive difficulty in their attempt to perform the task.
- Breathalyzer test – One of the most accurate tests on the scene. A police officer will request the driver to breathe into the breathalyzer device. This will prove that the driver is under the influence by measuring the alcohol concentration in the driver’s mouth.
- HGN test – Also known as the horizontal gaze nystagmus. A police officer will shine a light on the driver’s eyes to test the responsiveness of them.
- Blood/ urine test – Blood alcohol content (BAC) or substances in the driver’s bodily system can be accurately calculated by taking a urine chemical or blood test at the police station or a specialized testing vehicle.
As a driver, you are given the right to refuse any of the exams or tests according to the laws in Florida. However, it is worth adding that the implied consent law declares your driver’s license will be banned for up to one year, as expressed in Florida Statute 316.1932.
Refusing to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test
Once drivers have passed their test, they automatically assume a duty of care in Tampa. In other words, drivers are expected to move cautiously and in accordance with the law to keep themselves and other road users safe. In addition, you also consent to take a breathalyzer test if a police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
You do have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test in the state. But this usually leads to much more serious consequences that could be even worse than just simply taking the breathalyzer test and therefore admitting to your DUI crime.
The Law Place has managed thousands of cases related to DUI, and we can offer you a free consultation. Reach out and speak to a skilled lawyer from our firm, who will talk you through the process and answer all of your questions.
Is DUI a Felony in Tampa, Florida?
A DUI charge will usually be classed as a misdemeanor for a first-time conviction, not a felony. However, there are exceptions in DUI law, and it heavily depends on a series of factors. When a misdemeanor is escalated to a felony charge, it usually comes with a colossal increase in penalties and punishments as well. In addition, the charge can even result in thousands of dollars in fines and a prison sentence.
Most of the time, when a misdemeanor DUI is escalated to a felony DUI, it is usually as a result of a repeated offense. In the state of Florida, you will be charged with an automatic felony DUI if you are caught driving under the influence two times within ten years. However, if you are charged four or more times for drunk driving, then you will receive a felony DUI regardless of the time frame.
If you caused a car accident by driving under the influence, you would face serious punishments and fines. You could also be held liable to pay for any injuries, damages, and pain and suffering that you caused.
For more information on penalties for a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI, visit the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) website.
Can a Defense Lawyer Get a DUI Dismissed in Tampa, FL?
A strong DUI defense is what you need in the face of a felony charge. Our law firm has years of experience in dealing with DUI cases, and we want to help fight for your rights. One of the main strategies that an adept lawyer from our firm will take is using the evidence against you in your favor by arguing the legitimacy of the facts. A professional lawyer will also have the skills to confront:
- Field sobriety tests – In the state of Florida, a sobriety test is required to be performed by a police officer in accordance with the laws and regulations.
- Process of arrest – It is possible that a police officer could have pulled you over on the road illegally, without a rational reason or explanation for doing so. The evidence being used against you could be regarded as inadmissible because of the circumstances of the stop.
- Recorded observations – It is mandatory for a police officer to take official notes if they make a traffic stop. It could be argued that the police officer’s observations were invalid or false.
- Blood alcohol tests – Chemical tests, including a breathalyzer or blood test, must be administered with admitted consent.
What Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Do for Me in Tampa?
If you were caught driving under the influence and received your first DUI charge, then you might be feeling uncertain about what to do next. You might even be feeling afraid for your future. As in most first time DUI cases, you will probably be charged with a misdemeanor. However, the penalties for a DUI case will still be quite severe.
At The Law Place, we are aware that sometimes even good people can make some bad choices, and we don’t want one honest mistake to result in you losing your driver’s license or getting convicted. We highly recommended that you seek counsel from our law firm as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense lawyer from our firm will be able to offer you a free consultation, along with some unbiased advice to help you in your specific situation.
If you decide to hire our services, and we discover that your BAC was below 0.15% from your breathalyzer or blood test, then there is a strong chance that a DUI lawyer will reduce your charges or even reduce potential punishments, for example:
- A fine up to $500
- A prison sentence.
- Probation of up to six months.
- Driver’s license suspension of up to six months.
- Attending DUI school.
- Victim impact panel class.
- Community service time of up to 50 hours.
- Vehicle immobilization for ten days.
If driving under the influence causes an accident, the case immediately becomes even more severe. It is essential that you contact a skilled DUI lawyer from The Law Place to fight your case. If the other person was injured in the accident, then you should fully expect them to seek compensation from you for the injuries and damages incurred.
At The Law Place, we have years of experience in handling DUI cases and helping clients fight their DUI charges in Tampa. We will make sure that your case has a strong DUI defense and that the outcome is reasonable and fair for you in the end. More importantly, we will do our best to stop you from getting a conviction or a driver’s license ban, and we will work to reduce your liability and charges as much as possible. In most DUI cases, the difference is usually between being convicted of a misdemeanor or being convicted of a felony. But rest assured, we will ensure that you have a substantial DUI defense to take into court.
Contact The Law Place Today in Tampa!
A Tampa DUI can lead to severe consequences, which includes the risk of possibly losing your driver’s license, alongside receiving a hefty fine for your actions. In addition, a Tampa DUI can also have heavy effects on your family life and job as well.
However, there is no need to be concerned for long, as our team of DUI lawyers will fight for your rights and ensure that your case is settled with a reasonable outcome. At The Law Place, we have years of experience in helping to reduce the charges and consequences for our clients. We have seen almost every kind of Tampa DUI case, and we know how to handle it. Our quick-fire skills and database of knowledge have achieved great success in reducing punishments for Tampa DUI cases across the State of Florida.
We know the pressure you are up against, but our law firm will ensure that your DUI defense is fit for the courtroom. It is worth noting that we might even be able to have your DUI case overturned, depending on your specific circumstances.
Contact The Law Place now for a free consultation, and our team of DUI lawyers will get to work on your case. Our phone lines are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call now on (941) 444-4444, and we will fight for your future together.