Getting a DUI in Florida can create many problems in your life. It can affect your work, your finances, and even your personal life. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help mitigate those problems — helping you to get the best potential outcome so you can get on with your life.
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Florida, it’s important to understand the Florida DUI laws to help deal with the various issues that may arise.
What you need to know about Florida DUI laws
Here are five things you need to know about DUI in Florida:
1. What Constitutes a DUI in Florida?
A DUI is an offense in Florida — “Driving Under the Influence.” The state considers a person is guilty of that offense if:
- it is proven by impairment of “normal faculties” or
- unlawful blood alcohol or
- a breath alcohol level of .08 or above
2. What Types of Penalties Can You Get for a DUI in Florida?
There are several types of penalties that can happen. Depending on the situation, and whether or not you have a good criminal defense attorney, the penalties can either be less or more severe. Here are the basics:
- Fines — 1st Conviction is between $500 -$2000; If the alcohol level in your blood is .15% or higher – or you have a minor in the vehicle – the fine will be between $2,000 – 4,000
- Community Service — 1st Conviction – a mandatory of 50 hrs. of community service or an extra fine of $10 per hour for each required hour of community service
- Probation — 1st Conviction – up to but no more than 1 year (this includes incarceration and probation)
- Imprisonment — this is at the discretion of the court. Depending on the situation, you may be able to serve time at a residential alcohol or drug treatment center
- Driver’s License Suspension — a law enforcement officer has the authority to seize your driver’s license from a person with .08% or above or if you refuse to take the breath, urine or blood test
The penalties above are typically more severe for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th convictions.
3. Can I Get Temporary Driving Privileges if They Take My License?
Your license is automatically suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicle if you have a .08 or above or if you refuse to take the test. But, you can drive for ten days after the arrest. We can help you keep your driving privileges depending on the circumstances. The sooner we are contact after your arrest, the better.
A Clearwater criminal defense attorney can help to speak on your behalf — potentially arguing that (if the situation occurred) you really didn’t refuse the breath test or that your arrest was improper or unlawful, depending on the situation. Having an attorney can be the difference of either having your license continuing to be suspended or keeping your driving privileges. The DMV does have an option for a Business Purpose Only (BPO) only license as well.
4. Are There Any Other Consequences to Getting a DUI in Florida?
If convicted, Florida DUI laws typically mandate that the person would have to go to a DUI school. You can also get your car impounded, lose time from work, have difficulty getting certain professional licenses, and potentially be vulnerable to a civil suit if someone was hurt in a car accident (a passenger or other vehicle). Not to mention, your automobile insurance rates will increase.
If it’s your 2nd or more conviction, there is often a costly ignition interlock device installed in your car to keep you from drinking and driving and jail time can be mandatory. Also, court fees can get quite expensive too. This is not to mention any long-term issues from having a conviction on your record. But know that it’s not hopeless.
5. Should I Get a Criminal Defense Attorney?
In a difficult time, know that legal professionals are there to tackle challenges that people unused to dealing with the justice system aren’t prepared for — bringing knowledge and aggressive determination to reduce the impact after getting arrested.
With the range of penalties and consequences that can happen with a DUI in Florida, it is so important to have an experienced Clearwater criminal defense attorney by your side. As an advocate for your legal rights, an attorney who knows the very complex Florida DUI laws — and has helped numerous people with DUI cases — is critical to getting the best outcome possible.
Contact The Law Office of Dean Tsourakis today for a free consultation. An experienced, top-rated DUI lawyer, Dean Tsourakis is dedicated to helping the people of Florida and committed to your case each step of the way. You can also reach us at 727-785-2700.
Other DUI Articles:on Jan 14, 2019