If you are charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), it is critical that you speak with an experienced attorney to protect your rights. A DUI is a criminal offense that can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. There are different penalties depending on the type of DUI and whether it is a first or subsequent offense. A conviction will affect your liberty, reputation, insurance, and driving privileges for years to come.
To prove a DUI in Florida the prosecution must prove that:
The person drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle, and
While driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle, the person either
Was under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substances set forth in 877.111, or controlled substances in 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired; or
Had a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or higher.
First Offense Misdemeanor DUI –
By statute you can face up to 6 months in jail.
By statute a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000.
Penalties can be higher for a BAC of 0.15% or higher.
But typically a first time offender receives (Polk County):
12 months probation
6 month driver’s license suspension (required by statute)
50 hours community service
Victim Impact Panel (required by statute)
DUI School (required by statute)
Alcohol evaluation and any recommended treatment
10 day vehicle impound (required by statute)
Adjudication of guilt
Second Offense DUI –
By statute a second conviction results in jail for up to 9 months and higher fines.
If the conviction is within 5 years of the first conviction, you must go to jail for at least 10 days, you may lose your driver’s license for 5 years or more, 30 day vehicle impoundment, and a 1 year interlock device.
Subsequent DUI Offences –
Each subsequent offense calls for higher jail sentences and fines. You can even face felony charges and habitual offender charges.
Can I refuse to take a breath test?
Yes you can, the first time. Just know that a refusal results in an automatic 1 year driver’s license suspension.
The second refusal can be a criminal offense and punishable by up to 1 year in county jail.
We will aggressively defend your DUI case. There are numerous defenses available, including, challenging the results of breath or blood tests, suppressing evidence due to an invalid stop or lack of consent, and improper field sobriety exercises.