A Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense is committed by drivers who are found to have a Blood Alcohol Content of at least 0.08%. This is the legally permitted level for operating a car in the state of Florida, and most other US locales as well. If you or your loved one has been charged with a DUI, contact us immediately so we can get started on your defense and legal advice.
DUI is a serious crime carrying stiff punishments. Even below the legal limit, driving abilities are hampered. At levels higher than 0.08%, judgment on the road becomes seriously compromised. This level could be reached after as few as two beers, depending on your size.
Individuals may experience impaired vision, delayed response time, and poor control over muscle movement. Given that their ability to perceive and deal with approaching dangers is also poor, drivers become a hazard to themselves, their passengers, and other people and property on the road.
DUI Charges Can Leave a Permanent Mark on Your Record
A DUI offense leaves a permanent mark on your record in addition to any other legal penalties you might face. Do keep in mind that while alcohol DUI’s are the most common, other substances are also prohibited. Any other controlled substance or chemical that could affect your ability to operate a machine can lead to a DUI charge under Florida law.
Prosecutors and law enforcement officers pursue offenders aggressively with a dedication to keep them off the road and keep the streets safe. If convicted of DUI charges, drivers risk severe consequences, including jail or prison terms, fines, and the revocation of their driver’s license.
If you’re charged with DUI, get in touch with us, we have experienced DUI defense lawyers ready to help you in the Daytona Beach, FL area and Volusia County. They will use their 20+ years of experience to put together a strategy that gives you the best chance of a lenient sentence. Typical defense arguments include that the officers did not have legal grounds to stop or test you. Or, that the BAC levels are not high enough for a DUI.
Penalties Depend on Several Factors
Several factors can influence the penalties for a DUI. For instance, if the driver has a previous record of drinking and driving or whether people were injured in the incident. The actual BAC level and the age of the offender and passengers can also influence the penalties.
Remember that even if you’ve been taking opiates for a medical condition and you carry a valid prescription, the charges can stick if the medicine made it unwise for you to drive.
Penalties for the First Florida DUI Conviction
- Prison term of a maximum of 6 months
- Revoked license for a minimum of 180 days, equal to about 6 months
- Revoked license for a minimum of 3 years in case of a DUI with severe bodily injury
- Fine ranging from $500 to $1,000
- In case of a BAC of more than 0.15%, the court may mandate the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
Second DUI Conviction
- A minimum of 9 months of jail time
- Fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,000
- Mandatory installation of an IID (ignition interlock device) for at least 12 months
- If the BAC is above 0.15%, the court may order a mandatory installation of an IID for up to 2 years
- Revoked license for a minimum of 5 years if the second DUI occurs within 5 years of the first DUI
- Revoked license for up to 1 year if the second DUI occurs more than 5 years after the first.
Third DUI Conviction
- Third degree felony charges
- Maximum of 12 months imprisonment
- Fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000
- If the BAC is 0.15% or higher, the court mandates installation of an IID for 2 years
- Revoked license for a minimum of 10 years if the third DUI occurs within 10 years of the second
- Revoked license for a maximum of 1 year of the third DUI occurs more than 10 years after the first
- Fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000
- Maximum 5 years’ imprisonment
- License cancelled permanently
- Third degree felony
Car Insurance After a DUI Gets Complicated
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. In case of a car accident, the driver’s own insurer is responsible for compensating damages and any related medical expenses. For this reason, it is mandatory to get auto insurance to be allowed to drive. It indicates financial responsibility. Typically, individuals with a DUI charge end up paying significantly higher premiums for coverage.
Getting approval for auto insurance after a DUI charge can be exceedingly difficult. You’ll complete and submit an FR-44 form for the insurance company. In addition to higher premiums for the ensuing three years, you’ll need insurance worth $100,000 to $300,000 for body injury protection and $50,000 for property damage. Only then can you be allowed to drive.
Breathalyzer Test Rules and How They Work
Law enforcement officers can stop you if they have reasonable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe that you violated traffic rules. If the police suspect the driver is under the influence, they can conduct a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) or Breathalyzer test. Drivers are required to blow into a mouthpiece to assess the levels of alcohol in their blood.
In this situation, in Florida, you do have the option to refuse to take the test. Here’s what happens next.
- It is not against the law to refuse to take the test. For the first arrest for DUI charges, offenders can refuse the test. However, they’ll still face the DUI charges
- Refusing the PAS test does not automatically mean license revocation. You can contest the license suspension within the next 10 days before a judge. With the assistance of your DUI attorney/criminal defense lawyer, you’ll present the necessary evidence to support your request to retain driving privileges. Typically, the hearing is like a miniature trial.
- Law enforcement officers cannot revoke your license. You’ll appear before the DMV to receive a decision.
- Even if you do take the Breathalyzer test and pass, the DUI charges can still stand. Police officers arresting offenders are trained in NHTSA (National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration) indicators to identify individuals who are potential hazards on the road.
The Award-Winning Attorneys at Smith & Eulo Can Advise You Best
The attorneys at Smith & Eulo Law Firm have been handling DUI cases for the last 20 years and know exactly how to fight the charges and uphold your rights in court. Trust in their knowledge and experience to get you the best defense. Considering that your personal and professional life can be permanently impacted by a DUI charge, you need a robust defense to refute the charges and minimize the penalties. Call us today for your free consultation our experienced criminal defense lawyers will take the time to hear you out and put together the best defense strategy suited for your specific situation.