Driving under the influence in Clearwater, FL, is considered an offense, and being charged with a DUI can pose numerous consequences. And due to the high rate of drunk driving incidents, the state has strict penalties for those proven guilty. Therefore, looking for an expert DUI Lawyer in Clearwater is essential to provide you with legal advice.
Fortunately, Smith & Eulo is a law firm composed of exceptional lawyers with years of experience in DUI cases. They will review your case and find a solution in your best interest. Whether guilty or not, you must hire a lawyer to guide you through the process to ensure everything is fair.
What is a DUI in Clearwater, FL?
DUI, or driving under the influence, refers to a person that’s impaired with chemical substances, alcohol, or controlled substances. However, a DUI can be verified with abnormal functionalities or a high blood alcohol level of 08 or above. Upon conviction, the penalties are the same. It’s regardless of how the offense is proven.
On the other hand, the law is different for minors or those driving under 21 years of age. If they have a blood alcohol level of 0.02 or higher, they can already be charged with DUI. So if you or your loved one is on the wrong side of the law, having a professional DUI Lawyer Defense in Clearwater can help resolve the case.
What are the Penalties for DUI?
The penalties depend on the severity of the offense and whether it’s a first-time conviction. There will be fines to pay as well as possible jail time. In addition, there might be additional penalties, which the court will have to assess first.
First Conviction Fines
For first-time DUI violators, the first conviction will be fined the following:
- Between $500 to $1,000
- With a BAC of .15 or higher or if there’s a minor in the vehicle, the fine is between $1,000 or more than $2,000
Second Conviction Fines
The fines for a second conviction are the following:
- Between $1,000 to $2,000
- If the BAC was .15 or higher or if there’s a minor involved, the fine is not less than $2,000 and not more than $4,000
Third Conviction Fines
For third convictions, fines will depend if the offense took place within ten years after the second conviction or not:
- Between $2,000 and $5,000 for an offense within ten years from the second offense and not less than $4,000 if the BAC was more than .15 or higher or a minor is in the car
- Between $2,000 and $5,000 for an offense more than ten years from the second offense and not less than $4,000 if the BAC was more .15 or higher or a minor is in the car
Fourth Conviction Fines
For fourth subsequent convictions, the fines are pretty simple.
- Not less than $2,000
- If BAC was .15 or higher or if there’s a minor involved, the fines are not less than $4,000
Imprisonment for DUI convictions will depend on the court’s ruling. These may be served in residential alcoholism programs or drug abuse treatment programs, which can be credited toward the term of imprisonment.
- Jail time is at most six months.
- BAC of .15 or higher or if there’s a minor in the vehicle, the imprisonment is not more than nine months
- Not more than nine months imprisonment
- Not more than 12 months jail time if BAX was .15 or higher or if there’s a minor in the vehicle
- Mandatory imprisonment for ten days if the second conviction happened within five years, and at least 48 hours of confinement has to be consecutive.
- Mandatory imprisonment for at least 30 days if the third conviction is within ten years of the prior conviction, and the 48 hours must be consecutive.
- If the conviction is over ten years, imprisonment is not more than 12 months.
- Imprisonment for not more than five years, or as stated in section 084 of Florida Statutes for habitual or violent offenders
Impoundment of Vehicle
Immobilization or impoundment of the vehicle will depend if the defendant has no other transportation.
- First Conviction: Ten days
- Second Conviction: 30 days if the conviction happened within five years of the prior conviction
- Third Conviction: 90 days if the conviction happened within ten years of the prior conviction
However, it’s worth noting that there are some factors the court will consider. For instance, impoundment or immobilization is dismissed if it’s the only vehicle operated solely by the employees of a business owned by the defendant.
How a DUI Misdemeanor Turn Into a Felony
Under certain circumstances, a DUI misdemeanor can turn into a felony offense. These instances are as follows:
- If you have two prior convictions and one occurred within the past ten years.
- If you have three or more DUI convictions, regardless of when they happened
- You caused severe bodily harm to another person while driving under the influence.
- You caused the death of another person while driving under the influence.
These carry more severe penalties compared to DUI misdemeanors. Mainly, it entails more jail time.
Florida’s Implied Consent Law
The Implied Consent Law refers to all drivers lawfully arrested for DUI to submit their blood, urine, and breath test. Drivers who refuse to submit their test will result in a one-year revocation of their driver’s license.
If they still refuse for their second offense, their driver’s license will be revoked for a minimum of 18 months. In addition, a second offense refusal of submitting a breath test results in a first-degree misdemeanor charge with a fine of up to $1,000 and a max of one year in jail.
For drivers who submitted their tests with at least .08 showing up will get their license suspended for six months and one year for the next occurrence.
Choosing a Reliable Clearwater DUI Lawyer to Help You in Your Case
Being charged with DUI can be daunting, especially when facing jail time. But with a reputable DUI Lawyer defense attorney in Clearwater, you can get the legal counsel you need without the hassle.
At Smith & Eulo, we have a team of lawyers ready to help you with your DUI case. You can always get in touch with us, and we’ll find the best solution that meets your needs.