Driving Under the Influence Charges
Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is a serious crime that affects people from all walks of life. Facing DUI charges does not mean you are a criminal. It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in Florida if (1) your blood alcohol level is 0.08% or above, (2) your normal faculties are impaired by alcohol, drugs, or medication.
First and second DUI offenses are misdemeanors in Florida. You may be punished by a fine of up to $1,000.00 but not less than $500.00 and up to six months incarceration in the county jail if you are found guilty of a first offense. However, if you drove with a minor in the car or with your BAC at 0.15% or higher, then the maximum jail sentence is nine months. The total period of incarceration and probation for a first DUI offense may not exceed one year. Additionally, you must perform 50 hours of community service or pay a fine of $10 for each hour of community service. Further, the state will suspend your license for six months for a first-offense DUI conviction.
The court must impose additional conditions upon a person convicted of a second offense DUI. Punishment for a second offense increases the fine to $2,000.00 and the possibility of incarceration to a 9-month maximum jail sentence. If you were convicted of driving with a minor or a blood alcohol level of 0.15% or greater, then the maximum sentence you face is one-year incarceration. If, however, you second offense occurred within five years of your first conviction, then the court must sentence you to ten days in jail, with a minimum of 48 hours to be served consecutively. Your car must be impounded for 30 days as well.
Florida law imposes mandatory license loss for DUI charges as well. Florida is an "implied consent" state. Implied consent means that by simply driving on a public way in Florida, you agree to take a Breathalyzer test if police have reason to believe you to be under the influence. Refusing to take a breath test can be used against you in court. You can be charged with a crime for refusal if you refuse to take a breath test more than once. Also, the state will suspend your driver's license for up to one year. A second refusal results in a mandatory license suspension of 18 months for refusal and one year for a conviction of a second DUI offense.
In Florida, a third DUI offense is a felony. A judge could sentence you to prison for up to ten years. Florida law also punishes DUI homicide and DUI manslaughter severely.
Facing DUI charges is daunting. You need a tough, knowledgeable, and experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney to fight for your rights. Contact Englander Peebles today at (954) 500-4878 for a free initial consultation. We will discuss your options and possible defenses as well as answer any questions that you may have.