Given the inherent dangers of drunk or drugged driving, DUI laws are strictly enforced in every state, and Florida is no exception. A conviction can have serious consequences, including potential jail time, fines, license suspension, and other penalties. When your driving privileges and freedom are on the line, that’s the time to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
My.Attorney has been defending clients against DUI charges in the state of Florida for over 25 years. We have a proven history of achieving successful outcomes in administrative proceedings and jury trials. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, we will take the time to hear your side of the story and build the best line of defense. For a free evaluation of your case, download the My.Attorney app today or call us at #4LAW.
Florida DUI Laws
Driving under the influence (DUI) is defined under Florida law as (1) having a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher (.04 for commercial drivers) or (2) not having normal use of your faculties while operating a motor vehicle. You may be charged with DUI if your blood alcohol level is lower than the legal limit based on observations about your appearance or behavior by the police.
In addition, you will likely be arrested for DUI if the police detect the odor of alcohol or marijuana or discover an open container in your vehicle. You can also be charged with DUI for being impaired by prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication while driving. Finally, there is zero tolerance for driving under the influence by minors — drivers under the age of 21 with any detectable level of alcohol in their system can be charged with DUI and have their license suspended.
What is the implied consent law in Florida?
All licensed drivers in Florida fall under the state’s implied consent law. This means that anyone who has been issued a driver’s license agrees to submit to a chemical test of their blood alcohol level if stopped by police for suspicion of driving under the influence. If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, your license may be suspended for up to 18 months.
You must request an administrative hearing before the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) within 10 days of your arrest. This is a civil proceeding to contest the suspension that is separate and apart from any court trial. Your license will be automatically suspended if you fail to request an administrative hearing. It is crucial to contact My.Attorney immediately after a DUI arrest so that we can represent you at the administrative proceeding and preserve your driving privileges until your case is decided.
Florida DUI Penalties
There are a number of factors involved in determining the penalties, such as:
- Your blood alcohol level
- Prior convictions
- Who was in the vehicle with you
- Whether you caused an accident that resulted in injuries
The penalties for a first DUI offense include up to 6 months in jail, 1-year probation, fines up to $500, license suspension, 50 hours of community service, mandatory participation in a substance abuse program (DUI school) and a 10-day vehicle impoundment.
The penalties are elevated for having a blood alcohol level over .15 percent or driving under the influence with a minor passenger in the vehicle. A conviction for a second or multiple DUI offenses will also result in increasingly severe penalties such as mandatory jail time, significant fines, a longer license suspension or a revocation, probation, DUI school, vehicle impoundment and mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device.
More serious driving under the influence offenses in Florida includes DUI causing serious bodily injury and DUI manslaughter. Causing bodily injury while driving under the influence is considered a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years probation and fines up to $5,000. Causing or contributing to the death of another while driving under the influence can lead to DUI manslaughter charges, punishable by a minimum mandatory 4-year prison term and a fine of up to $10,000; maximum sentencing recommendations may also apply.
Contact Our Florida DUI Attorney
Being arrested for driving under the influence is a frightening experience, but that doesn’t mean you will automatically be convicted. The legal team at My.Attorney knows how to assert a number of defenses against DUI charges. We will conduct an extensive investigation to learn about the facts of your arrest to determine whether the police had probable cause to pull you over. If a breathalyzer test was administered, we can question the accuracy of the machine or the skills of the police officer who administered the test. Similarly, field sobriety tests can be challenged if the results were skewed by the weather, visibility or road conditions.
Knowing how much is at stake after a DUI arrest, we will work to protect your rights, help you avoid a conviction, minimize any fines and preserve your driving privileges. If you have been charged with DUI, it is imperative to contact My.Attorney as soon as possible to avoid a license suspension. Download our app, call us at #4LAW or fill out the contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.