A DUI is a very serious crime in Florida. If you try to fight it alone, you may face some very serious penalties and a permanent criminal record. A DUI charge in Florida can have some very serious repercussions on your personal and professional life. You could be facings a fine of thousands of dollars, a suspension of your license, court-mandated meetings, and even jail time.
So, in short, it is definitely worth it to hire a lawyer if you are charged with a DUI. Here, at The Law Place, our DUI attorneys have a wealth of experience over a wide range of practice areas. They will do everything in their power to shield you from the worst of the penalties associated with your DUI charges.
Hire an attorney from The Law Place today! Just call us on (941) 444-4444.
What Is a DUI?
A DUI is short for ‘driving under the influence’ and is defined, in the State of Florida, as operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. If you are caught driving under the influence, it is classed as a criminal offense, and you will be charged accordingly. DUIs are taken very seriously in the State of Florida, and you could face very severe penalties. Drunk driving is a common inaccuracy. Driving while drunk will definitely get you a DUI, but you do not need to be drunk to be over the legal limit.
What Are the Penalties Associated With a DUI?
In accordance with Florida Statute 316.193, the penalties for a DUI are as follows:
- First conviction – On your first offense, you will be liable for a fine of anything between $500 and $1,000. It is at the court’s discretion whether jail time is added to your penalties, but you could be facing up to 6 months in prison.
- Second conviction – For your second DUI, you will be facing a fine between $1,000 and $2,000. Again, at the discretion of the court, you may be sentenced to up to 9 months in jail
- Third conviction – On your third charge, the fine will increase to anything between $2,000 and $5,000. If your convictions are within 10 years of one another, you are looking at a mandatory 30-day prison sentence. If your convictions are more than 10 years apart, the penalty is a prison sentence not exceeding 12 months. This is also at the discretion of the court.
- Fourth conviction – On your fourth conviction, your fine will be nothing less than $2,000, and there is no cap. You will be looking at a prison sentence not exceeding 5 years, you will be convicted in accordance with Florida Statute 755.084, and you will be classed as a habitual offender.
As you can see, these penalties are very serious, and facing them alone could have dire consequences. Make sure that you enlist the help of a DUI lawyer to help with your DUI charges. Our team is waiting by the phone to take your call and give you the best legal advice available.
Requesting a Hearing to Challenge Your DUI Charge
Following being arrested for a DUI, you will only have 10 days to request a hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV). If you fail to do this, you will have waived your rights to challenge your DUI charges. Before requesting your hearing, it is advisable to contact an experienced DUI lawyer to help you with your case. They may even be able to apply for a temporary driving license so you can still drive to work or school and for medical or religious purposes.
This hearing is an integral part of your case. It is here that the FHSMV and your lawyer will determine whether the arresting officer had probable cause to arrest you. For example, whether you were properly informed of the consequences of refusing a breath, blood, or urine test and whether you refused these tests. This is the opportunity for your DUI lawyer to cross-examine witnesses, such as the arresting officer. It also gives them a chance to subpoena important documents that could be valuable in the trial to come.
What Happens If You Refuse a Breath, Blood, or Urine Test When a Law Enforcement Officer Has Requested One?
By driving a car in Florida, you have accepted the privilege extended by state laws that allows you to operate a vehicle on the roads. By accepting this privilege, you have also accepted the right of law enforcement to request a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your blood alcohol concentration level. If you are lawfully arrested while operating a motor vehicle, the chances are that you will be subject to one of these tests to determine whether you have been drinking or taking drugs.
You may refuse to consent to these tests unless you have been in an accident that involves serious personal injury or death. However, refusing these tests is not advisable, nor is it without costs. Below are the penalties for refusing a test:
- First refusal – Your license will be suspended for a period not exceeding one year.
- Second refusal – Your license will be suspended for a period of up to 18 months.
It is important to note that if you do refuse one of these tests when a law enforcement officer requests one, it will be admissable to use against you in any other legal proceedings against you at the time. On your second or subsequent refusal to submit to these tests, you will be charged with a misdemeanor offense.
How Much Will a Lawyer Cost for Your DUI Case?
The cost of a criminal defense lawyer is very hard to predict as there are many variables to take into account. When it comes to a DUI lawyer, you get what you pay for. If you do not spend much, you will get an inexperienced attorney that has not worked many of these cases in the past. If you want a lawyer with a wealth of knowledge and a lot of successful cases under his belt, you should expect to pay a lot more.
You must also take into account the details of your arrest and DUI case. Here are some of the things an attorney will consider when working out what to charge for your case:
- Does the arrest involve personal injury or death?
- Have your actions resulted in an accident or property damage?
- Is this your first DUI charge?
- Was your last DUI charge within 10 years of your current one?
- Are there any additional criminal charges involved with your arrest? Meaning, did you resist arrest, conduct yourself in a disorderly manner, attempt to assault the arresting officer, etc.
- Do you have a criminal record?
If your answer to several of these questions is yes, then your attorney will cost you much more. Here, at The Law Place, your wellbeing is something we value greatly. With that in mind, we will be behind you every step of the way, no matter how serious your DUI case is. You can trust the attorneys at our law firm to do the best they can to shield you from the worst of the penalties you are facing.
Is a DUI Worse Than a Reckless Driving Conviction in Florida?
In short, a DUI conviction is much worse than a reckless driving conviction in the State of Florida. DUI cases tend to have much higher penalties both immediately and in the long term. This is why you need to hire an attorney. If you hire a lawyer from our law firm, they will do everything in their power to get your DUI reduced to a reckless driving charge. Here are the penalties associated with reckless driving in Florida:
- First offense with no personal injury or property damage – For your first offense, presuming nobody was hurt and nothing was damaged, you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. Your penalties will be up to 90 days in jail or a 6-month probationary period and a fine not exceeding $500.
- Second or subsequent offense – If you are caught a second time, you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. You could be sent to jail for up to 6 months and fined up to $1000.
- Property damage or personal injury – If, as a result of your reckless driving, a person was hurt or property was damaged, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. You could face up to a year in prison and up to a $1000 fine.
While these penalties are not minor, they are much more agreeable than the penalties associated with DUI cases. That is why an experienced attorney will always attempt to get your DUI conviction reduced to reckless driving. When hiring an attorney, keep The Law Place in mind. We will do everything in our power to get you the most lenient penalties we can.
Can You Get a DUI on Private Property?
You can receive a DUI on private property. This has happened many times in the car parks of bars and clubs. If the private property has a way to enter and exit a public road, then a law enforcement officer has the right to investigate and make arrests for a DUI. Under the same laws, you can be arrested for a DUI while sitting in your car on your drive.
Contact The Law Place Today!
Have you been arrested for driving under the influence? Are you considering hiring an attorney to help you with your case? Then do not waste a second. Contact a lawyer from our law firm today.
Upon contacting us, one of our attorneys will offer you a free consultation to discuss the details of your case. If you decide to enlist our help, we will get the ball rolling immediately and request a hearing to challenge the charges brought against you. We will conduct a meticulous investigation into the events surrounding your arrest and will use whatever we find to build a solid defense.
Our lawyers have over 75 years of combined experience and will work together, so you benefit from every second of it. Their expertise covers a wide range of practice areas, so if you need an attorney, look no further than The Law Place. Please call us today at (941) 444-4444.