Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Attorney in Florida & DUI Lawyer in Tampa Florida
Law enforcement and prosecutors vigorously pursue DUI charges. If you have been charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol), you face severe consequences, including suspension of your driver’s license, fines, probation, and possibly jail. It is important to hire a DUI lawyer as quickly as possible to protect your rights. Under Florida Statute 316.193, to be convicted of a DUI charge, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within the state, and at the time you were driving you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that your normal faculties were impaired, or that at the time of driving your blood or breath alcohol level was more than 0.08.
In DUI cases involving alcohol, law enforcement obtains evidence based on the odor of alcohol, color of your eyes, slurred speech, performance on field sobriety exercises, and a blood or breath test. Refusal to provide a breath or blood sample may also be used as evidence, as it shows guilty fear of taking the test.
When an officer suspects that you are driving under the influence, he or she will typically request that you perform certain tests to evaluate whether your “normal faculties” are impaired – usually on video. These tests include a finger-to-nose test, a one-legged stand, and heel-to-toe test. They are strictly scored by the officer, with any small mistake counting against you. In essence, this is an opportunity for the police to gather evidence that your normal faculties are impaired in case you refuse the breath test. Although there is no separate punishment for refusing to perform these tests, but refusing will almost always lead to your arrest.
Florida has an Implied Consent Law which states that each person gives consent to a breath or blood test as a condition of licensing. If you refuse a test following a lawful arrest, your driver’s license will be suspended administratively by the DHSMV. Your license will be suspended for one year for the first refusal and 18 months for any consecutive offenses. This is separate from the suspension that will result from the actual DUI conviction itself. Additionally, you may be charged with a second independent crime for refusal to submit to the test.
The possible minimum punishments vary based on the number of past DUI convictions, and the amount of alcohol in your system if you provided a blood or breath sample. Each individual’s criminal history may also impact any discretionary punishments.
For a first time DUI conviction with an alcohol level less than 0.15, you can expect fines and court costs of approximately $1000, 1 year of probation, driver’s license suspension of 6 months to one year, up to six months in jail, a 10 day vehicle impoundment, DUI school with evaluation and treatment, and 50 community service hours. If the alcohol level was above 0.15, the court costs and fines are approximately $1500, the jail term can rise to 9 months, and you are required to install an ignition interlock device in your car for 6 months. The penalties for subsequent DUI convictions increase substantially and include mandatory jail time and much longer license suspensions.
DUI cases can be defended in many ways depending on the particular circumstances of your case. The defense of a DUI case depends on many things, including whether alcohol and/or drugs are involved, whether there was an accident, and whether there was a blood, breath or urine test. The reason for the stop can be challenged, as can the breath test results in many cases. There are also potential defenses to the license suspension. A Tampa DUI defense attorney can discuss your options based on the facts of your case.
Have you been charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol in Tampa Bay? A criminal defense lawyer from The Lawler Firm can help. CALL WITHIN 10 DAYS OF YOUR ARREST TO PROTECT YOUR ABILITY TO CHALLENGE THE LICENSE SUSPENSION!
If you are facing DUI charges, call The Lawler Firm now for a free no obligation consultation. You will speak to your actual DUI criminal defense attorney, who will meet with you, even on evenings and weekends. Call Now (813) 431-4470!