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- Criminal Law
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
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Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, charges are common in the State of Florida. Individuals who law enforcement believe are under the influence of alcohol or other substances which impair the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle will charged in Florida, whether or not these substances are illegal; whether or not the vehicle is a car, bicycle, or a boat.
DUI Charge Penalties
In regards to alcohol, DUI charges are filed when the driver has an unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. Depending on whether this is a first, second, or third conviction, the penalties for a DUI can vary greatly in the State of Florida. For example, with the first conviction, the defendant faces a maximum of 6 months in jail (or 9 months if the BAL is higher than a .15 or a minor is present in the vehicle). Jail time is not mandatory in the case of the first offense. But, in the case of a third offense within 10 years, a mandatory incarceration of 30 days with 48 hours of consecutive confinement must be performed. Other penalties besides imprisonment associated with DUI charges include fines, community service, probation, and impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle.
DUI Charges in Florida
DUI charges in the State of Florida require that you are driving or are in “physical control of a motor vehicle”. This is an important distinction - in the State of Florida, if the person has the capability to operate the vehicle, then they are capable of been charged with a DUI. So, if someone is driving home after a night of drinking and pulls into a parking lot to sleep, it is still possible to be charged with a DUI. The location of the key can be an important factor in whether or not you are charged with a DUI. By placing the keys in a purse in another part of the car or in the glove box instead of leaving them in the ignition or in your pocket, you can prove that you were not in physical control of the vehicle.
Need a Florida DUI Lawyer?
If you think you have been unfairly accused of a DUI, or would like advice on how is the best way to receive the shortest sentence possible, contact the attorneys at Draper Law Office today at 1-866-767-4711 or online.
About Florida DUI Law
When someone is arrested in Florida for DUI (driving under the
influence) two distinct cases will arise. The Dept. of Highway Safety &
Motor Vehicles will take on one of the two cases.This case will make the determination as to
how long and the extent that the defendant’s driving privileges are suspended
or restricted. To limit the punishment that the Dept. hands down, someone who
has received a DUI charge within Florida should make a request with the
Department for a special hearing. If there is a favorable outcome, the
defendant may be able to retain their driving privileges.
Certainly, no special hearings are available that will prevent
prosecution for the DUI charge. Based upon Florida law, two theories exist that
can be used by a prosecutor to prove DUI. One of the theories is the impairment
of normal mental faculties as a result of substances that were ingested. The
second theory, which is the “per se” theory, is made on the basis of the
defendant’s body chemistry at the time the arrest occurred. The per se theory
is simple to comprehend, because it is invoked when the BAC (blood alcohol
concentration) of the defendant is greater or equal to 0.08%. The BAC of the
person who is arrested is obtained by the administration of a urine, blood or
breath test when the arrest occurred. If the person who is arrested refuses the
test, they might receive a harsher sentence than someone who is compliant.
The theory which is based on normal faculty impairment is
directly related to the judgment of the arresting police officer in regards to
the defendant’s ability to normally operate a motor vehicle at the time the
arrest occurred. The standard which is utilized is that of a person who is
reasonably capable who is under the same type of circumstances as the defendant.
The intention of this standard is to shed light upon cases of impairment when
the BAC of the defendant is less than 0.08% or when the impairment is caused by
other, or additional substances. Irregardless of the theory that is utilized to
convict a defendant of DUI in Florida, the penalties are harsh, therefore, we recommend
that you seriously consider consulting one of our expert DUI attorneys in order
to ameliorate your situation if you have been charged with a DUI in Florida.
The sentencing guidelines in Florida make a distinction between
cases when there are one or more minor passengers in the vehicle and when this
is not the case. The fine for a first-time offender with no minor passengers
will lie between two hundred and fifty and five hundred dollars. The fine will
be from five hundred to one thousand dollars if a minor was a passenger in the
vehicle when the arrest occurred. Under Florida law a DUI conviction will stay
on someone’s record for a time period of ten years. There isn’t any mandatory
incarceration time for a first or second conviction. Nevertheless, a judge
could order as long as nine months of incarceration for either the first or the
second offense. In addition, someone who is convicted of DUI might be required
to attend residential treatment for alcohol or drugs. The sentence is at the
court’s discretion and will vary between cases.
You can read more about DUI's in Florida at the Florida Highway Department's Site
Call us now at 866.767.4711
or contact one of our attorneys through the online contact form