Ocala DUI Lawyer
The acronym DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence and carries severe legal consequences in Ocala, Florida. DUI charges are not just about drinking and driving. You can also be charged if you’ve been consuming any beverage, chemical, or controlled substance that hampers your judgment on the road.
For alcohol, the permitted blood alcohol level (BAC) for operating a car in Florida must remain below 0.08%. Anything higher and you’ll face legal and financial penalties. The first thing you’ll want to do in that case is to get in touch with an experienced Ocala criminal defense attorney to seek advice on dealing with the situation.
DUI Charges in Florida Are a Serious Offense
Do keep in mind that drinking not only puts your own safety at risk, but you also endanger the lives and safety of friends and neighbors. The law comes down hard on such offenders, and law enforcement and prosecutors will do everything they can to keep offenders off the road.
If you’ve been involved in a DUI accident, be prepared for a permanent mark on your record. In addition to getting your driver’s license revoked, you risk several fees and penalties. The fallout of the incident can also impact your entire life and future.
DUI Offenses Carry Several Penalties
The penalties for a DUI charge in Ocala typically depend on the number of times you’ve been stopped for a similar issue and whether people were injured due to your condition. Your actual BAC level and being underage can cause you to incur worse penalties.
Remember that even if you’ve been taking opiates for a medical condition and you have a prescription, DUI charges apply. Your Ocala DUI lawyer can help lower the penalties and offer a plea for a lesser sentence. Here are some of the possible punishments.
First DUI Conviction
- Fine from $500 to $1,000
- Up to 6 months’ prison term
- Revoked license for a minimum of 180 days (about 6 months)
- Revoked license for at least three years for a DUI with severe bodily injury
- Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for six months for a BAC of more than 0.15%
Second DUI Conviction
- Fine from $1,000 to $2,000
- Up to 9 months’ prison term
- Mandatory IID installation for at least one year, if the BAC is over 0.15%, the mandatory IID can be for up to two years
- Revoked license for at least five years if the second DUI is within five years of the first DUI
- Revoked license for a maximum of one year if the second DUI is more than five years later
Third DUI Conviction
- Fine from $2,000 to $5,000
- Up to 12 months’ prison term
- Third-degree felony
- Mandatory IID installation for two years if the BAC is 0.15% and higher
- Revoked license for at least 10 years if the third DUI is within 10 years of the second DUI
- Revoked license for a maximum of one year of the third DUI is more than 10 years later
Fourth DUI Conviction
- Fine from $2,000 to $5,000
- Up to 5 years’ prison term
- Third-degree felony
- Permanently revoked license
DUI Offenses Can Affect Insurance Coverage
According to Florida traffic laws, it is illegal to drive without auto insurance. Or, you must indicate proof of financial responsibility. A DUI charge can make it hard to get mandatory insurance. At the very least, the cost will rise.
After a DUI charge, you will be required to fill out the FR-44 form. Not only will you pay higher insurance premiums for the next three years, but the rates may also increase every year. Getting $100,000 to $300,000 for bodily injury protection and $50,000 in property damage protection is also essential to be allowed to drive again.
How the Breathalyzer Test Rules Work
If you’re under the impression that refusing to take the Breathalyzer Test automatically proves a DUI charge, that’s not exactly true in Florida. Here are some facts to understand.
- Refusing to take a test is not a crime. If you have been arrested on DUI charges, you can refuse to take the test for the first time. However, the original DUI charges will still stand.
- Refusing to take a BAC test does not mean that you’ll lose your license. You’ll have 10 days to contest the DUI license suspension before a judge. Get the advice of an Ocala DUI attorney who can present the necessary evidence. The hearing is like a mini-trial and if you win, you could be allowed to retain your driving privileges.
- If you refuse to take the BAC test, the law enforcement officer does not revoke your license. You’ll appear before the DMV where the case is reviewed.
- If you take the BAC test and pass, the DUI arrest can still go forward. The officer arresting you will likely use NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) indicators to determine if you’re a hazard on the road. For instance, erratic behavior or driving, inability to walk a straight line, and slurred speech may indicate that you’re unable to drive safely.
Rely on the Award-Winning Law Firm Smith & Eulo for DUI Advice
Considering that a DUI charge can have a long-term impact on your finances, personal life, and career, it is advisable to take the situation very seriously. Attain the services of qualified Ocala DUI lawyers and get advice on the optimal course of action, and the best criminal defense law firm to rely on would be Smith & Eulo.
We have more than 20 years’ experience in helping clients with their DUI charges. We are familiar with the prosecutors and know exactly how the judicial system in Ocala works. Trust us to provide an aggressive defense for a good outcome and resolve the problem with the minimum of penalties. When your future is at stake, you need the best attorneys in your corner. We can make that happen.