Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a common crime. Many individuals charged with DUI have no previous convictions. A DUI is not a simple traffic charge. Florida treats a DUI as a criminal charge and it can be one of the most expensive and confusing legal experiences.
You may be found guilty of DUI if you are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and:
- You are under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or any regulated chemical substances to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired;
- You are found to have a blood alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
- You are found to have a breath alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
There are certain mandatory sanctions for a DUI conviction, including:
- Payment of a fine;
- Completion of a substance abuse program;
- Completion of a minimum of 50 hours of community service;
- A period of vehicle impoundment or immobilization;
- In some cases, the mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device upon all vehicles (whether individually or jointly owned or leased) that you routinely operate;
- Minimum driver’s license suspension -6 months for the first conviction and the potential of a permanent revocation for a fourth DUI or a DUI causing death.
- Minimum jail sentences for repeat offenders – 10 days in jail for a second DUI conviction within 5 years of the date of the prior conviction and 30 days for a third DUI conviction within 10 years.
Can be charged as a felony
A DUI may be charged as misdemeanor or a felony. A third DUI within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction will be a Third Degree Felony. This is also true for a fourth DUI conviction regardless of when it occurs. A DUI causing certain serious injuries or death will also be charged as a felony.
Concurrent Administrative Proceeding
In addition to the criminal case, a DUI charge carries the possibility of a concurrent administrative case with the DHSMV. If you were driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle and your blood or breath alcohol level was .08 or higher, your driver’s license will be administratively suspended for a period of 6 months for a first offense. This period of suspension increases to 1 year if you refused the request for a lawful breath, urine or blood test.
The suspension is effective immediately and the law enforcment officer will take your driver’s license and issue you a 10-day temporary driving permit if you are otherwise eligible to drive. You will then receive a notice of suspension. To challenge the suspension, you must request a formal hearing within 10 days of the notice of suspension.
Successful DUI defense can result in the exclusion of certain evidence from your case, the reduction of your DUI charge to a lesser charge, or even the dismissal of your case. These defenses may include:
– Challenges to the lawfulness of the traffic stop,
– Challenges to any tests that were administered,
– Challenges to any statements that you made, and/or
– Challenges to any observations regarding your impairment.
It is important to act quickly to challenge a DUI charge. You must ask for an administrative hearing within 10 days of your notice of suspension.
Contact us immediately if you are facing a DUI Charge.